Alcohol and pregnancy …the effect of ‘ordinary drinkers’ on the unborn child

This article tells us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear: i.e. drinking AT ALL when pregnant affects the unborn child’s IQ.

We are not talking about alcoholic drinking or binge drinking either. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a well-documented, permanent severe mental and physical consequence for the child of heavy drinking by mother during pregnancy. But this is not where this research is aimed.  No, this research relates to a couple of glasses of wine a week!

When pregnant, women often report feeling different and separate from the group, as well as stressed, uncertain, out of sorts and under pressure.  It may feel hard enough without also not being able to drink a glass of wine ‘to relax’.  But this research suggests that the price you may pay ‘to relax or feel part of’ may actually be too high. IQ is not just intelligence, it represents the ability to interact and understand; a powerful influence in self-esteem. Your child may pay with his or her quality of life for your need to use alcohol for 9 months. Not a balanced equation no matter what your mathematic ability!

So we need to support women – and maybe even more ambitiously our society – to find other ways to relax so that alcohol steps down from top slot of how to clock off.  It is a depressant, it causes accidents, is fundamental in many severe health problems, causes long term and debilitating mental health issues, and now we can see that it impacts on our future generation’s IQ before it is even born.

With such compelling evidence around negative impact of alcohol on the unborn child we must invest in other strategies. We need to learn how to stop, pause, take a breath so that all that we strive for and invite into our lives doesn’t drown us in its administration and relentless rhythm. In pregnancy we lay the foundations for the child’s profile as well as for our relationship with him or her, and those 9 months should not be overlooked nor taken for granted. In fact they are an opportunity for investment!  Mindfulness Meditation is a powerful method that focuses on the breath and helps to alleviate anxiety, pressure and even craving by letting go of thoughts and feelings without banishing them or trying to control them. It can help make mental and emotional space to forge a connection between the unborn baby and its mother as well as to gain essential perspective. Similarly pregnancy yoga provides a proactive engagement with the changing body and mind, and has proven positive health benefits, pregnant or not. Laughing, singing, dancing, exercise have also all been widely researched and promoted in their positive effect on well-being.

Be in the solution…

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