One of the things that I love most in life is a good glass of red wine.  It’s something that my parents love and that has been passed down to me over the years.  When I first met my wife, she barely drank at all and certainly didn’t have any kind of appreciation for wine.  On one of our first dates, I cooked her dinner and served her the sweetest, easiest drinking wine I could think of (a Reisling for those who are interested in such things) and she ended up really liking it.  As our relationship progressed, so did her love of wine and eventually she was drinking the same big, bold Pinot Noir’s that I would have been drinking for myself.

Effects of Alcohol

So what is the point of the story I just told?  Well, after two years of marriage, my wife got pregnant.  By this point, wine was a pretty regular part of our lives and we would almost always have a glass with dinner.  The pregnancy was obviously going to complicate this.  She would certainly have to stop drinking, but should I stop along with her?  I didn’t have a baby that could be affected by a glass of wine inside my belly.  It also raised the question of what effect the alcohol that a pregnant woman takes in really does have on the baby.  I started researching the topic (because that’s what I always do when I’m curious about anything) and found out that it effect is terrible.

So what are the effects of alcohol during pregnancy – can you drink while pregnant?  The answer is absolutely no.  Alcohol is one of the substances that a pregnant woman can take into her body that will cross the placental barrier.  If this happens, it can stunt growth, change the physical appearance of the baby and cause permanent brain damage which can result in behavioral and psychological issues for the child later in life.  Essentially, you are doing permanent damage to the central nervous system of the child, which is something that cannot be treated or cured once the damage is done. 

Treat pregnancy with Care

You would like to think that this is a problem that very rarely occurs but, unfortunately, you would not be correct.  As many as 30 percent of American women have reported that they consumed alcohol during their pregnancy at some point and it is the leading cause of mental defect in the Western world.  Once a child has become afflicted with this condition, their estimated cost of care through the rest of their lives is 800,000 US dollars per child.  Obviously this problem carries a personal, as well as a social cost.

So what can you do to prevent this?  The most obvious answer is to not drink at all during pregnancy.  This is the only 100 percent foolproof method for prevention.  However, we also need to educate women to how serious an issue this really is and hope that they will recognize that the future health and well being of their child is not worth keeping your nightly glass of wine ritual while pregnant.