Q&A: I drank alcohol before I knew I was pregnant. Will the baby be okay?
I consumed a lot of alcohol on vacation before I knew I was pregnant. Will the baby be OK?
I get this question a lot. We all understand that alcohol is harmful to fetuses, but we often don’t know we are pregnant during those first few critical weeks. Fetal alcohol syndrome is believed to be caused by chronic alcohol exposure—so your first task is not to drink any more during this pregnancy. As little as a few drinks a day through pregnancy or recurrent binge drinking can compromise a developing fetus.
While it is unlikely that very short-term alcohol exposure caused harm, you should talk to your doctor or midwife about your exact level of drinking on vacation and the timing during pregnancy. Ultrasound may be able to reassure you and your team that your baby is free of some of the major findings of fetal alcohol syndrome.
You have control over your actions from here on out. Some positive steps you can take include supplementing folic acid at least 400 micrograms daily, and not exposing the baby to other toxins like cigarettes and recreational drugs. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and aiming for appropriate weight gain are all within your control. We all make mistakes and this won’t be the last “perfect mom” mistake you will make. Forgive yourself, get information, take care of your little one, and move on. Good luck to you!
Try these 8 great non-alcoholic cocktails.