Is Drinking a Few Glasses of Wine In The First Weeks OK?April C. Sanchez, M.D.
First of all, congratulations on your newly discovered pregnancy!! Alcohol consumption during the first week following conception is unlikely to harm the baby, as implantation does not normally occur until about day 6 after ovulation. There has been a suggestion that binge drinking early in pregnancy after implantation could be associated with neural tube (brain and spinal cord) defects; however, I do not know of any studies which prove this definitively. Certainly, heavy drinking throughout pregnancy is much more dangerous.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the name for a grouping of abnormalities seen in infants born to alcoholic mothers. These abnormalities include delayed growth, mental retardation, smaller heads, and facial abnormalities. Chronic consumption of 6 drinks or more per day constitutes a high risk, whereas FAS is unlikely when the mother drinks less than 2 drinks per day. We do not know how many drinks may be consumed safely without any fetal alcohol effects. Fetal alcohol effects include delayed development, but these are less severe than in FAS. It is a sad commentary on our society that maternal alcohol ingestion is the leading cause of mental retardation in the Western world, surpassing even Down Syndrome and Cerebal Palsy.
Yes, the safest thing is to discontinue alcohol when you discontinue reliable contraception; but many women do indulge in binge drinking before they realize that they are pregnant, and the babies are usually just fine. You have done the right thing by stopping the alcohol now.
I wish you the best of luck with the remainder of your pregnancy.
April C. Sanchez, M.D.Dr Sanchez lives with her husband and two boys ages 6 and 2 in Mandeville, Louisinana. She is a Board Certified OBGYN with a degree from Louisiana State University Medical School. She completed her residency through the Tulane University Medical School Residency Program. She also received a Surgical Excellence Award.
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