Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus. If you have consumed alcohol without knowing that you were pregnant, it is recommended to talk to a healthcare professional to dispel any doubts and to be properly monitored.

Have you had alcohol without knowing you were pregnant? This can happen especially at the beginning of pregnancy before noticing the absence of periods or the appearance of other symptoms (nausea, tight breasts, stomach aches, fatigue, etc.). This situation can of course cause concern. Although there are very little data on the risks incurred during the first two weeks of pregnancy, it is still necessary to take precaution throughout its duration.

Specialists recommend that you carefully monitor your menstrual cycles and write them down to quickly realize a possible pregnancy and adapt your behavior accordingly. Furthermore, it is important to inform people in your immediate environment about your pregnancy so they can avoid offering you an alcoholic drink at a very sensitive time.

Alcohol: The risks for babies

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it passes from the maternal blood to that of the fetus by crossing the placental barrier. The fetal liver is not yet functioning. It cannot remove alcohol which is toxic to the cells at any dose. Therefore, it is crucial for pregnant women to avoid alcohol.

The repercussions on the fetus are, in fact, very variable depending on the amount of alcohol drunk, the stage of pregnancy, the woman’s metabolism and the sensitivity of the fetus. In the current state of knowledge, there is therefore no threshold below which the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy would be without risk for the unborn baby.

Alcohol is, in fact, a teratogenic substance, that is to say, it causes malformations in the organs. Its consumption during pregnancy can also adversely affect the building of the central nervous system and the growth of the fetus. Later, the child may experience intellectual delays, behavioral disorders, psychomotor development problems.

React and talk about it

Pregnancy is an emotionally very intense time. Learning that you have been drinking alcohol without knowing that you were pregnant can lead to feelings of shame and guilt. But it is important to be able to speak freely about it to seasoned professionals, who will be able to provide the best advice, and offer additional examinations if necessary.

It is also possible to discuss it with your doctor, gynecologist, midwife or with an addictologist in case of difficulty with alcohol. These professionals are not there to judge but to support. They can intervene at different levels. For women who are struggling with alcohol and wanting to become pregnant, they can anticipate and offer them specific care. If the woman is already pregnant, she can go to an addictology care, support and prevention center. In any case, you should not be alone in the face of your problems.

Erica Delaney

Erica is an experienced nurse working in the central Florida area. She focuses on subjects related to pregnancy and infant health. She is a mother of two with hobbies ranging from dancing to playing the piano.