Binge Drinking In Early Pregnancy | Effects & Dangers

Pregnant women who binge drink in early pregnancy can cause harm to their unborn child. Serious and life-threatening side effects may take place including, birth defects and abnormalities, disabilities, and stillbirth.

Pregnant women who participate in binge drinking, particularly during their first trimester, can experience serious side effects. 

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the dangers associated with maternal alcohol consumption include the potential for birth defects or stillbirth.

If you are pregnant, it is not advised for you to drink alcohol. Those who take part in this form of substance abuse during early pregnancy may have an increased risk of developing health problems. Additionally, the developing fetus may suffer from health issues.

Binge Drinking & Early Pregnancy

Binge drinking is defined as drinking 4 or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). 

This harmful drinking pattern can greatly increase the side effects of alcohol such as dizziness, memory problems, and lowered inhibitions.

This can lead to serious issues such as falls, accidents, or dangers to the health of your child in those who are pregnant. Binge drinking in the first two weeks of pregnancy can affect fetal growth and cause other life-threatening side effects.

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Effects Of Binge Drinking In Early Pregnancy

Prenatal alcohol consumption can cause harmful effects to the developing embryo, fetus, and child. When a pregnant woman binge drinks, alcohol travels through the blood and can enter the baby’s organs, tissue, and blood.

Because it takes longer for alcohol to break down in a baby than it does for an adult, the alcohol will remain in the baby’s system for a longer period of time which can result in lifelong damage. This is how poor pregnancy outcomes occur.

Effects may include damage to the heart, behavioral issues, or learning problems. These negative birth outcomes can be attributed to harmful drinking patterns of the mother during pregnancy.

Dangers Of Binge Drinking In Early Pregnancy

Depending on the alcohol intake that took place at the beginning of pregnancy, abnormalities and birth defects can occur. These dangers to the child may vary depending on the duration, severity, and frequency of prenatal alcohol exposure during gestation.

There are several dangers associated with binge drinking during early pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

If a pregnant woman continues to have binge episodes, the baby may be exposed to a large amount of alcohol leading to a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASDs) such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Symptoms associated with FAS may include:

  • birth defects
  • low birth weight
  • stillbirth
  • disabilities such as cerebral palsy
  • preterm birth or premature birth
  • slowed learning

To maintain the health of you and your baby during the gestational age, it is recommended to refrain from drinking, including a standard drink. Consult with your obstetrician if you experience any health issues during pregnancy.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use, consider finding an inpatient treatment program at a rehab facility. Various treatment options consist of medical detox, therapy programs, and evidence-based care.

You can find these treatment plans and more at Ohio Recovery Center. Contact our treatment center today to learn more about your support options.

  1. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  3. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
  4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  5. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,greatest%20risk%20for%20severe%20problems.&text=However%2C%20even%20lesser%20amounts%20can%20cause%20harm.
  6. National Institutes of Health
  7. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: October 23, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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