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Was wondering about the dangers of alcohol before positive pregnancy. Chances of FAS?

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Hello, I was wondering about the dangers of alcohol before you find out you're pregnant. I had 3-4 glasses of wine most nights, until I found out about 3 weeks post conception. Now I won't have another drop, guaranteed, but am very worried. Is it true the yolk sac protects the embryo until the placenta takes over? What are the chances I did any harm? For most babies with FAS, the mothers drink throughout pregnancy? Is it true the second half of the first trimester is the most dangerous?
Posted Thu, 24 Oct 2013 in Pregnancy
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
The chances of FAS are remote if you stop alcohol.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for trusting us with your health concern.
Taking wine during first three weeks after conception before knowing you were pregnant, chances are it probably won't harm your baby. But it's very important that you stop drinking alcohol as soon as you are pregnant. The sooner you stop drinking, the better off you and baby will be.
It is true that the yolk sac protects the baby till the placenta takes over.
The chances of developing FAS are higher if mother takes alcohol throughout the pregnancy.
It’s difficult to predict the impact of drinking on any given pregnancy because some women have higher levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol.
But taking alcohol in the first half of Ist trimester is less XXXXXXX as compared to second half.
Please feel free to discuss further. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Was wondering about the dangers of alcohol before positive pregnancy. Chances of FAS? 8 minutes later
Thank you for your reply... It helped me to somewhat set my mind at ease.

To clarify, when (which week) does the placenta take over? Before this, the risk of alcohol use, even heavy alcohol use, hurting the fetus is low? Do you often see patients with this same worry? And everything turns out alright? Have you ever had a patient only using alcohol the first five weeks of pregnancy, before they knew they were pregnant where the child was negatively affected?

Would you say the embryo is nearly 100% protected by the amnion and yolk sac from the alcohol in the mother's bloodstream in this stage?

Organogenesis starts the fifth week of pregnancy- is this the fifth week since LMP, or the fifth week after conception? Some people also say that if alcohol were to hurt the baby before this, it would more likely cause a miscarriage rather than FAS, since the embryo is just a bunch undifferentiated cells before this? Is this true?

Thank you in advance for your reply. I was definitely not expecting this pregnancy but now have completely changed to a healthy diet, no alcohol, no caffeine, and taking folic acid/prenatal vitamins. I started folic acid around week 5, when I found out I was pregnant... Is this soon enough?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 55 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Chances of fetus affected by alcohol - almost nil.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
Placenta starts working by 7-8 weeks and completely takes over the function by 14 weeks.
But a heavy alcohol use in second half of first trimester - after 6 weeks can affect the fetus.
I have come across many such cases in my OPD and stopping alcohol use after knowing about pregnancy does not show any harmful effects on the fetus.
Yes. The embryo is nearly 100% protected by amnion from alcohol in mother's blood stream at this stage.
Organogenesis starts in fifth week since LMP.
Yes. Alcohol can cause miscarriage if the organogenesis is severely affected.
It is good that now you have quit alcohol. It is best to start folic acid 3 months before the date of conception. But since this was an unplannned pregnancy, the sooner you start, the better it is.
Hope my answer is helpful.
If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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