If your spouse drinks alcohol during her pregnancy, it could be harmful for herself as well as for the baby. Even a small amount of alcohol, or occasional drinking, can prove dangerous during the pregnancy and nursing period. Because women are often not aware that they are pregnant, until a few months into their pregnancy, health officials recommend that a pregnant or nursing woman should stay away completely from alcohol.
One way in which alcohol intake affects the unborn baby is by increasing the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies with fetal alcohol syndrome typically display a group of mental and physical defects. They may have severe handicaps and may require lifelong special medical care.
Children born with fetal alcohol syndrome may have:
- A smaller than average size and weight
- Disturbed eating and sleeping patterns
- Sight and hearing problems
- Decreased attention levels
- Learning problems
- Behavioral problems
- Need for special schooling
These are some tips to help your spouse give up alcohol:
- Learning to say no whenever offered a drink
- Staying away from places or situations that stimulate the urge to drink
- Using non-alcoholic substitutes such as cider, grape juice, and other non-alcoholic drinks
- Taking her doctor into confidence
- Joining an alcohol treatment program or support group