Reuters Health news service ran an article dated Feb 10, 2000 that stated that researchers now know how drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect the brain of a fetus. This study also published in the February 11, 2000 issue of the Journal of Science, was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Missouri.
In that article, Dr. John Olney stated, “It’s a mechanism that involves interfering with basic transmitter of the systems in the brain….” The shocking part of the report was that it was reported that just one episode of getting drunk during the third trimester of pregnancy would be enough to damage the brain of a fetus. The March of Dimes says, “Drinking alcohol when you’re pregnant can be very harmful to your baby. It can cause your baby to have a range of lifelong health conditions. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, preterm birth and stillbirth.”
Why this happens is because the alcohol in your blood passes through the placenta then to your baby through the umbilical cord and to the baby’s liver. Your liver can handle the effects of alcohol, however your baby’s liver is not fully developed and can affect the healthy development of your baby.
Recommendations from the March of Dimes regarding alcohol use is as follows: “If you’re pregnant or even thinking about getting pregnant, stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol includes wine, wine coolers, beer and liquor. There is no amount of alcohol that is proven to be safe.
You may know some women who drank regularly during pregnancy and had seemingly healthy babies. You may know some women who had very little alcohol during pregnancy and had babies with serious health conditions. Every pregnancy is different. Drinking alcohol may hurt one baby more than another. The best way to ensure a healthy baby is to stay away from alcohol altogether.”