Pregnancy is a delicate phase in a woman’s life, when she needs to be extra careful about her health. Whether pregnancy is natural or assisted, it is better to take precautions to stay safe and healthy. Amongst the many precautions she has to take is abstinence from alcohol. The effect of alcohol on the growing fetus is still under research. While some women consider an occasional drink or two safe enough, others advocate total abstinence.
In this regard, it is vital to find out if drinking during pregnancy poses any health risks for the mother and the baby. And if a woman chooses not to abstain completely, what quantity would be safe for her. These are the key issues that patients need to discuss with IVF centre in Delhi she has chosen for treatment. Here is all that you need to know about drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the risks related with it.
Alcohol during pregnancy: How much is safe enough?
When it comes to alcohol consumption during pregnancy, it can never be justified. The reason is that there is scientific evidence that it can actually harm the fetus. It can influence its physical growth as well as mental development. When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol gets dissolved in the bloodstream. It gets carried to the placenta via the umbilical cord from where it reaches the baby. The fetus is unable to process alcohol as its liver is amongst the last organs to develop towards the end of pregnancy. As a result, alcohol is likely to harm the baby, particularly if taken in large quantities.
Additionally, it has been proved by scientific research that drinking during the first trimester raises the risk of miscarriage. There is also likelihood of such women going into premature labor and delivering low birth weight babies. Another risk associated with alcohol consumption is that of a condition called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). The condition is characterized by poor growth, behavioral problems, learning difficulties and facial abnormalities in the children.
The key question related to alcohol consumption during pregnancy is the quantity that would be safe enough. The more a woman drinks, the higher is the risk of these complications. In fact, there is no amount that has been proven to be safe enough. Even light and moderate drinking is under speculation as it may harm the developing fetus. Therefore, it is considered better to steer clear of alcohol and practice complete abstinence during the entire pregnancy.
Alcohol and IVF Treatment
The baneful effects of alcohol on the developing embryo have already been highlighted. At the same time, it is important to realize that drinking too much can hamper fertility too. Therefore, it is as important for women planning conception to ditch the drink as it is for the pregnant ones. Not only this, men should practice restraint too as too much of it can deteriorate the sperm quality. Those going for IVF need to be all the more careful as stakes are high for them. Scientific studies have shown that taking four drinks a week brought down the IVF live birth rate by 16%. Things can get even worse if the male partner also indulges during the treatment cycle.
Most IVF clinics in Delhi would recommend total abstinence during the treatment cycle. The reason is that excessive alcohol consumption has been linked with decrease in number of oocytes retrieved during the cycle. Not only does alcohol reduces the chances of IVF conception for a woman, but also accounts for poor sperm samples for men too.
It is to be borne in mind that the amount of time and money invested in IVF treatment is high; for this reason, it would be better to take all the necessary precautions. Alcohol consumption is something that lowers the chances of pregnancy, natural or IVF. Therefore, it is important to reduce, better still, avoid alcohol before and during pregnancy. Whether trying to conceive naturally or opting for IVF, couples need to invest their best efforts for ensuring success. Positive lifestyle changes such as giving up drinking can be a tangible step in this direction.
Gaudium IVF is a renowned IVF clinic in India which provides advanced and comprehensive treatment for all kinds of reproductive issues in men as well as women. The clinic also offers expert counseling and support during treatment and pregnancy. Visit here for free second opinion from the award-winning infertility specialist in Delhi, Dr Manika Khanna.