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Alcoholic Pregnancies: Drinking while Pregnant

Addiction Alcohol Babies Consumption Drinking Drugs Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Fetus Mother Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Pregnant

There is no doubt that anyone would agree that a pregnant women in the midst of alcoholism needs immediate professional, medically, supervised help. She needs help for detoxification purposes. Purposes not just for her at this point… agreed?

The funny thing with society is that many can socially drink and get away with it.

What about mothers struggling with alcoholism? What do they do?

alcoholic pregnancy pregnant Alcoholic Pregnancies: Drinking while Pregnant images q tbn ANd9GcTeB3t44EHz8M514PstG5uCsnY0hjQkMpsKIqoqYPfLzkpxqmxe gIt’s said, “Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, 5.4 percent were current illicit drug users based on data averaged across 2012 and 2013.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014, p. 26).

It also states  “among pregnant women aged 15 to 44 in 2011-2012, an annual average of 8.5 percent reported current alcohol use, 2.7 percent reported binge drinking, and 0.3 percent reported heavy drinking.” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013, p. 33).

Illicit abuse and alcohol consumption in our society has a staggering effect on everyone, including pregnant women. Women are now more susceptible to alcoholism than ever before.

Throw out the inhibitions; forget the condom and we have our issue (most would think)!  But, that isn’t exactly how it goes down, right?

A few drinks at the bar. Hey, why not? He’s cute, right? Well, honestly you can’t tell for sure after 4 drinks?

Drugs, alcohol, and pregnancy have a strict correlation not just together but, through an intersectionality of things like:

  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome- “Illicit opioid consumption is associated with a sixfold increase in obstetric complications such as low birth weight, toxaemia, third trimester bleeding, malpresentation, puerperal morbidity (2), foetal distress and meconium aspiration. Neonatal complications include narcotic withdrawal, postnatal growth deficiency, microcephaly, neurobehavioural problems, increase in neonatal mortality and a 74-fold increase in sudden infant death syndrome.” (Dattel, 1990; Fajemirokun-Odudeyi et al., 2006; Ludlow et al., 2004) [European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, “Pregnancy and opioid use: strategies for treatment,” EMCDDA Papers (Publications Office of the European Union: Luxembourg, 2014), p. 3].

  • Preterm labor- “The percentage of infants born preterm declined for the third straight year in 2009, to 12.2 percent, down from a high of 12.8 percent in 2006. The percentage of infants born with low birthweight did not change between 2008 and 2009” [Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011), p. ix].

  • Low Birth Weight-  “Infants weighing 2500 grams or less are almost 40 times more likely to die during their first 4 weeks of life than the normal birth weight infant. Low birth weight infants are 5 times more likely than normal birth weight infants to die later in the first year and account for 20% of postneonatal deaths. The two major contributors to low birth weight are preterm birth and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)” [Zuckerman, Barry, “Drug-Exposed Infants: Understanding the Medical Risk,” The Future of Children (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University, Spring 1991) Volume 1, Number 1, p. 28. Citing Institute of Medicine, Preventing Low Birthweight Summary, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1985.]

Some things determine poor birth outcomes more than others. There can be alcohol consumption, or there can be other factors.

These factors can be social constructions, or they can be real ailments coming through genetics and the “T”ruth’s (capital T) of science. Other factors may be things like:

  • The mother being impoverished
  • A poor diet
  • Homelessness
  • Domestic Violence
  • Poor Parental Care
  • Drug Use
  • Consumption
  • Genetics
  • Social Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Class
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Shelter
  • Stratification
  • War
  • Work
  • Just Being

Many social, cultural, and scientific determinants being discussed above have direct response to poor birth outcomes. What gives your child the best chance of survival?

Don’t drink when you are pregnant? I would say that’s always your call, but… it’s not.

Think about your decisions. Think about your surroundings.

Think of things at the micro and macro levels.


Don’t just drink and give in with the kitchen sink!

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