Pregnant? Please Don't Drink!

I know. A weird topic for my blog. But I’m researching Fetal Alcohol issues for LOVING ANDY and I have to admit, I didn’t realize how serious this topic is. I certainly knew about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, having worked in a maternity ward as a social worker, but I thought the neurological and behavioral problems only occurred in the babies of heavy drinkers. Or at least moderate drinkers. The more I research, the more I realize that no amount of alcohol is really safe. Pediatric organizations and others suggest that even women who are trying to conceive stop drinking, because the damage can occur before you realize you’re pregnant.
Depending on the stage of development of the fetus at the time it is exposed to alcohol,  the child may have physical–including facial–deformities, developmental problems, neurological problems, tremors, heart defects, autistic traits. . . .the list goes on forever. Babies in utero are so totally vulnerable, and any alcohol the Mom drinks goes quickly into her baby’s bloodstream.
Reading about these kids makes me think about some of the teenagers I used to work with as a psychotherapist. I wonder how many of their problems can be attributed to maternal drinking? I wonder about my own little quirks when it comes to learning. I’m certain my mother drank socially when she was pregnant with me. I certainly don’t blame her. Who knew that she shouldn’t?
But we know better now.


  1. Lorene on September 8, 2006 at 9:26 am

    This is going to be a very good book! And a long wait for it:(
    I’m reminded of my sister and smoking. She neither smokes or drinks at all but when she was very young she did smoke. She smoked a bit when she was pregnant with her first child who turned out to be a genius. When I mentioned to her one day that evidently it didn’t hurt her child, she said, “Just think what he might have been had I not smoked at all” It’s the same with alcohol.

  2. Diane Chamberlain on September 8, 2006 at 10:31 am

    “Just think what he might have been had I not smoked at all” It’s the same with alcohol.
    what a brilliant response! no wonder her son’s a genius.

  3. brenda on September 9, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    I can so relate with the mom in your story-been there and done that. I did not drink or smoke but I took medication. I took a fertility drug to become pregnant, and before we could be certain that I was even pregnant, I also became very ill, threatening miscarriage, lost 20 plus pounds, etc…very quickly. I was on medication, intravenously and by mouth when possible-no real food for the whole pregnancy…no vitamins, milk, etc…I was a walking skeleton. Carried my son to term, knowing (before ultrasound and refusing the amnio) that there was a GOOD (?BAD) chance that he would be developmentally disadvantaged. HE WAS NOT. We risked it again…I lost that baby. We did it again-I felt it would be okay and didn’t need the fertility drug this time which we thought caused the first. Same thing-I was bedridden again while my little baby boy played along side my bed…God watched over us–we were living away from family-his dad came home at lunch to help-I had tons of meds again-lost the weight again (I weighed about ll5 when the little girl was born-with same worries. (The boy weighed almost 9 and she weighed almost 8) Miracles. They both were fine and graduated one year apart from high school as VALEDICTORIANS of their classes…our true miracles. BUT ALL THROUGH the pregnancies–all through their first years-I worried about what might happened. It was so very scary…
    I could not have any more because of the ENdometriosis—but I know it is difficult when one thinks one has hurt a child/unborn or not… Some called us “silly” for doing it again-but what if we had not? The world would be much sadder without these two.
    SORRY FOR THE LONG BLOG-but I am so thinking about Joanna and can’t wait to share her story.
    Diane-you are touching so many of us.

  4. Diane Chamberlain on September 10, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    oh, brenda, what a time you went through. i would have been so worried about the children, too, but you were very fortunate. the valedictorian part i attribute to the value you and your husband placed on education. they were lucky to have you as a mom.

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