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Is excessive alcohol consumption advisable during pregnancy?

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Posted on Sat, 16 May 2015
Question: Hi, I just tested positive on a pregnancy test. I estimate that I am between 3 - 4 weeks pregnant.

I am feeling quite stressed as I was not planning a pregnancy and have been on holiday overseas for the last 3 weeks.

During this time, I was drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages in excess - a cocktail or two in the evening and a few glasses of wine with dinner.

I was also drinking coffee and consuming energy drinks and a herbal tonic.

I would like to continue with this pregnancy, but am deeply concerned about the level of risk I may have exposed the foetus to.

I have of course stopped all consumption of these substances and have a doctors appointment. But am seeking some expert advice / opinion on the subject. There is a lot of opinion and not much guidance available on the internet.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Richa Agarwal (47 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
You can continue your pregnancy.

Detailed Answer:
Hello dear,

Thanks for trusting HCM about your health care.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I can understand your concern here.

Yes, it is true that excessive use of alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable and can cause foetal birth defects.

But small use of alcohol for a short period of time cause any foetal birth defect or mot it is a matter of debate.

In your case as you had alcoholic beverage during your early weeks of pregnancy, you should consult a Gynecologist and get yourself examined and ultrasound scan done to see the foefoetal well being.

If everything is fine you can continue your pregnancy under supervision.

Hope it is useful, feel free to discuss more.

Good luck.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Richa Agarwal (15 minutes later)
Thanks.

In your opinion, if an ultrasound scan reveals no immediate issues with the wellbeing of the foetus - then there is unlikely to be any birth defects linked to the alcohol that was consumed in the first few weeks of pregnancy?

You mention 'small use of alcohol'. Do you consider the amount of alcohol I consumed over those three weeks (approx. 5 drinks/ day) to be excessive?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Richa Agarwal (11 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes, it was excessive.

Detailed Answer:
Hello dear,

You are most welcome.

Yes, if your initial ultrasound scan is not showing any abnormalities than chances of future birth defects are very low.

Yes, you had consume excessive amount of alcohol but as you know in some person there is excessive amount of enzyme available which will digest alcohol early and reduce its impact on body.

So maybe you are having a good amount of that enzyme and it will not affect your foetal health.

Hope it is useful.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Richa Agarwal (2 hours later)
Thanks again.

What sort of abnormalities could there be? What should I ask about when going for the scan? What should they be looking for?

What is the enzyme that breaks down alcohol? How can u test for it?

Thanks
doctor
Answered by Dr. Richa Agarwal (14 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Mainly affect brain development.

Detailed Answer:
Hello dear,

Sorry for the long delay in my response.

The foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the term used to describe impact of alcohol on foetus.

Can affect growth, heart and brain.

Baby has especial facial feature like narrow eyes, flat face, small head.

You should tell about your alcohol intake and they will see the defect in heart, check fetal growth and distinctive facial feature.

Liver alcohol dehydrogenase is the enzymes which digest alcohol, you can test with your blood samples ( serum).

I think in my opinion you will reveal your treating doctor your exposure to alcohol and she will take care of you and your child.

Hope it is useful and again sorry for so much delay.

Hope everything will be fine

Good luck.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
Answered by
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Dr. Richa Agarwal

OBGYN

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3828 Questions

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Is excessive alcohol consumption advisable during pregnancy?

Brief Answer: You can continue your pregnancy. Detailed Answer: Hello dear, Thanks for trusting HCM about your health care. Congratulations on your pregnancy! I can understand your concern here. Yes, it is true that excessive use of alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable and can cause foetal birth defects. But small use of alcohol for a short period of time cause any foetal birth defect or mot it is a matter of debate. In your case as you had alcoholic beverage during your early weeks of pregnancy, you should consult a Gynecologist and get yourself examined and ultrasound scan done to see the foefoetal well being. If everything is fine you can continue your pregnancy under supervision. Hope it is useful, feel free to discuss more. Good luck. Regards.