What are the effects of consuming alcohol in early pregnancy? I drank a little when I didn't realize I was pregnant, do I need to be worried for my unborn baby?
There are times early in pregnancy when women don't realize they're expecting and drink alcohol. Now that you know you're pregnant, you should definitely stop drinking, even a few drinks.
According to the March of Dimes, "Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause physical and mental birth defects." For example, babies born to mothers who've consumed alcohol during pregnancy often have lower birth weights and are at risk for having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which effects a baby's mental development.
Several organizations, along with the March of Dimes and including the American Pregnancy Association (APA), advise women to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy and even to avoid it if you're trying to conceive since you may be unaware for a few weeks that you're pregnant.
The more a woman drinks, the greater chance that her unborn baby will develop problems. "The sooner you quit, the better," states the APA. "If you stop drinking now, the chances of damage (to your unborn baby) are decreased."
Good prenatal care can put your mind at ease so talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns.