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Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy Could Damage Your Baby’s Life – Dr Olufunmilayo

Nur'deen Olaitan

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Taking Alcohol During Pregnancy Could Damage Your Baby’s Life – Dr Olufunmilayo

UK based Nigeria doctor, Dr Harvey Olufunmilayo opines that taking alcohol while pregNANt could destroy the life of the unborn baby.

Below is the full details of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome including the consequences and possible solution.

“Small head Disfigured face Mental Retardation Growth difficulties Behaviour problems Liver, kidney, heart problems Eye and ear problems Permanent brain damage These are problems a child can have because Mummy took alcohol in pregnancy. If you are pregnant, DO NOT DRINK AT ALL.

When a woman is pregnant, she has a baby living in her womb. Now that baby is connected to the woman through a placenta and an umbilical cord. It is through this placenta and umbilical cord that nutrients and blood is supplied to the baby for growth and nourishment.

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This is why pregnant women are advised to take certain medications- like Folic Acid- not necessarily for themselves but mainly for the baby’s sake. That’s because when the mother takes the medication, it goes into the blood and helps the baby grow and develop normally.

So here’s the thing: When a pregnant lady takes alcohol, it goes into her blood and can get to the baby through the placenta Now because the baby’s system is not as developed as the mother’s own, alcohol can cause very serious permanent mental and physical problems for the baby.

Alcohol in the system of a baby while in the womb can potentially permanently destroy the brain, the spinal cord, many body parts and affect the overall development. Infact drinking alcohol in pregnancy can cause a miscarriage and premature loss of the baby. Let’s be very clear.

As I have stated so far, A child exposed to alcohol during pregnancy may die. Or if the baby survives, may have many problems like, -being born smaller than average -not growing as fast as they should -being short even as an adult -having a small head and a disfigured face.

Is there a cure for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Sadly, all these problems are permanent. The damage alcohol does to a developing baby’s brain and life while in the womb cannot be reversed. I need to be clear on that. Once the damage is done, the damage is done. Pls this is no joke.

So what can be done? It’s not all bad news. While the damage is permanent, there are still certain steps that can be taken to limit the impact of the problems on the child’s life. Early diagnosis and intervention is very key. So speak with your doctor ASAP if you suspect this.

How can you prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome from happening? It is simple. DO NOT DRINK AT ALL once you know you are pregnant. If you don’t drink the alcohol, there would be no alcohol in your bloodstream to get to the baby and damage the baby. This is the simplest way to put it.

Does that mean a pregnant woman can not drink any alcohol at all? YES. No alcohol at all. There is NO level of alcohol that has been found to be safe to drink for pregnant women. Unfortunately, that’s the medical standard advice as at today, for the sake of everyone’s good.

If a pregnant woman chooses to drink, does the amount matter? YES. The amount of drinking also matters. In the first place, no pregnant woman should drink alcohol at all. However let me be clear that the more a pregnant woman drinks, the higher the risks and damage to the baby.

“Oh but Sister Philo that lives in our backyard, she drank gin everyday and her baby was fine” Lol. Don’t gamble with your baby’s life. That Sister Philo did it and nothing happened doesn’t mean it would be the same for you. Again, this damage is for life. Don’t take that risk.

“But I’m pregnant and already drinking alcohol, so what can I do about it now?” Ok. Stop now. It’s never too late to stop. At any time, you stop, you reduce the risk of any damage done to the baby. It would always be a better decision to stop at any time, than carry on drinking.

And if you are pregnant and having problems stopping, speak with your doctor or midwife. They can help you out. In the UK, contact Drinkline – the national alcohol helpline- on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm). Or look up “Addaction” UK.”

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Nur'deen Olaitan, a Linguist from University of Ilorin. Passionate about sport, travelling, writing, & politics. He puts humanity above anyone or anything. He hold honesty and integrity in high esteem.Reach him via nakata@nigeriadailytimes.com

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