The Dangers of Drinking Alcohol while Pregnant
You can drink alcohol without any problem but when you abuse alcohol, it can lead to surprising results or risky behaviour like having unprotected sex with someone whose Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status you don’t know. But what about drinking alcohol while pregnant?
Alcohol is a toxic (poisonous) choma. So when you drink alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol gets into your blood and then passes through the placenta (a round organ in the uterus which helps nourish your baby with oxygen and food through the umbilical cord). Drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for your baby.
The effects alcohol has on a baby
Possibly contract Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s)
There’s an increase in risky behaviour when you consume alcohol. It can affect your judgement and decision-making and lead you to make bad choices like having unprotected sex with someone who is possibly HIV positive, putting you and your baby at risk of contracting HIV.
Miscarriage or premature birth
Binge, heavy or regular drinking can cause miscarriage (where you lose your baby before you give birth) or premature birth (where a baby arrives before the due date)
If you drink during pregnancy, your baby may be born with severe problems. Your baby’s brain is still developing, so, when you drink alcohol it affects your baby’s brain and prevents your baby’s brain from developing properly. This can cause your baby to:
- have difficulty concentrating or paying attention
- have poor memory
- have lower intelligence
- struggle with learning languages
Birth defects are health problems babies get at birth. They can change the function or shape of one or more parts of your baby’s body. Birth defects may cause serious problems in how your baby’s body develops or works. Your baby may be born with hearing or visual problems or have heart problems.
How to keep your unborn baby safe
You may sometimes be under pressure to drink, especially if you are out with your friends. If they don’t know that you’re pregnant yet, either tell them that you are pregnant so can’t drink any alcohol because you don’t want to harm your baby, or tell them that you are on a diet and stick to non-alcoholic drinks.
Speak to someone you trust if you find it hard to give up alcohol on your own, or if you think you may be addicted choma. There are treatment centres for you if you feel like you can’t stop drinking and may be harming your baby by drinking alcohol. You won’t feel judged there choma. You can even ask me on Ask Choma if you need more information. Remember choma, asking for help shows how much you care about your unborn baby.
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