Alcohol During Pregnacy: How Does Alcohol Affect Unborn Babies? - America's Rehab Campuses
Get Into Treatment Today: Detox & Inpatient - Beds Available Now. Updated: 12/12/18

Alcohol During Pregnancy Woman

When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Alcohol in the mother’s bloodstream passes directly through the umbilical cord to interfere with the development of her baby’s body, brain, and organs. Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy also face a high risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome.

If you are pregnant and need help quitting drinking, understand that drug rehab can help you achieve long-term abstinence from alcohol and reduce negative health consequences for both you and your unborn baby.

Statistics on Alcohol Use During Pregnancy

  • Alcohol is used by roughly 20% of pregnant women in the U.S.
  • An estimated 3 to 4% of women report binge drinking during pregnancy.
  • More than 3 million women in the U.S. are at risk of exposing their unborn babies to alcohol due to drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.
  • 100% of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are completely preventable.
  • Roughly 1 in 20 U.S school children may have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • Between 56 and 92% of pregnant alcohol users suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses.

How Does Alcohol Affect Unborn Babies?

Unborn babies exposed to alcohol in the womb face a high risk for physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASDs. FASDs are completely preventable and can only be avoided by quitting drinking and getting help for alcohol abuse and dependence.

Children born with FASDs may have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Small head size
  • Low body weight
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Abnormal facial features
  • Poor coordination
  • Poor memory
  • Poor attention span
  • Poor reasoning and judgment
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability
  • Problems with the kidney, heart, or bones

Risk Factors for Alcohol Use During Pregnancy

Alcohol dependence is the strongest risk factor for alcohol use during pregnancy. Women who were dependent on alcohol before becoming pregnant are highly likely to continue using alcohol after conceiving. Other risk factors for alcohol use during pregnancy include poverty, homelessness, mental illness, a history of physical or sexual abuse, and drug or alcohol use by the woman’s partner.

Is Alcohol Detox Safe for Pregnant Women?

Alcohol detox at an inpatient alcohol rehab center is strongly recommended for pregnant women who actively drink, are physically dependent on alcohol, and who are at risk for alcohol withdrawal. Withdrawing from alcohol without a professional medical detox can be dangerous for the mom and her unborn child, and result in seizures, eclampsia, and other serious complications. Alcohol detox during pregnancy is safe, as long as detox is conducted as a medical detox at inpatient drug rehab where pregnant women can receive 24/7 medical care and supervision to reduce and treat complications.

America’s Rehab Campuses offer alcohol and drug detox services to help pregnant women safely recover from drug dependence while reducing the risk for FADS and other pregnancy-related complications. Contact us today to learn more about our many drug rehab programs that can be customized for you or a pregnant loved one who needs help fighting and recovering from addiction.

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