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Effects of Alcohol on Pregnant Women

People consume alcohol for different reasons such as when they want to celebrate their achievements while others drink to forget about their problems. Whatever the reason, the alcohol that they hold dearly has side effects on their health, and women especially those who are expectant are the ones who are at great risk compared to their male counterparts. This paper will shed light on the effects of alcohol on expectant women.

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According to Hendrick (2006), when women consume alcohol the nature of their body makes them more vulnerable to effects than men because they have less water in their bodies hence the alcohol that they take remains highly concentrated. Alcohol is very addictive hence when a woman who is used to it becomes pregnant, she finds it very difficult to quit. But she can quit for the sake of her baby’s health because alcohol has many effects on the unborn child.

During pregnancy, the child inside the womb of a woman obtains food from the mother through the placenta hence when an expectant mother takes alcohol the baby will probably consume the equally dangerous residue. First and foremost, over-consumption can lead to the termination of the pregnancy and the possible death of the mother.

Women who indulge in alcohol have little time for eating and by doing so they are not only starving themselves but also the baby in their womb. This is why such women give birth to children who are so tiny. In such a case the woman is forcing her unborn baby to take alcohol without knowing it. During pregnancy, the baby’s growth is gradual and that is when the body organs begin to be formed and laid out. If a pregnant woman takes alcohol the organs may not be formed normally because the body cells of that baby will misbehave and hence make the organs to be disturbed, and may cause others to stop functioning (SAMHSA, 2007). This explains why such women give birth to babies with heart problems. If you ask them what they think about the causes of such disorders, they will tell you that maybe they have been bewitched while they are the ones responsible for causing such disorders to their innocent babies.

Tucker (2007) argues that taking alcohol during pregnancy can cause the brain of the unborn baby to be damaged and this might affect the child’s learning. Children who are born by alcoholic mothers may have deformed ribs or even bent spinal cord. Although this could be caused by abnormal behaviour of cells that is induced by alcohol, the mothers too can cause it by being irresponsible in how they move about because when they are drunk they are very clumsy and tend to fall quite often. Moreover, some engage in physical fights and when they are kicked and punched on their belly areas the impact could affect the unborn child.

Exposing the unborn baby to alcohol may cause it to develop kidney problems. This is because the system that is supposed to get rid of toxic waste is not fully operational until they are born. When adults take alcohol they urinate more often to free their body system from excessive water that is contained in alcohol but this is not possible for the unborn babies and that is why they are born with funny-looking faces.

If a pregnant woman tries to quit drinking she may experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms which are also dangerous. The symptoms include headaches and hallucinations among others. In such a case the lady should be put under a rehabilitation program because if she has been drinking alcohol for many years it is not easy for her to quit with severe side effects, thus she requires professional assistance. SAMHSA (2007) outlines that pregnant women should moderate their drinking habits if they cannot stop the practice. Women should cautiously reflect on the risks of drinking alcohol and the consequences of such a habit, with the aim of alcohol withdrawal. In essence, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are among the various reasons why pregnant women should avoid drinking.

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Therefore, governments should establish awareness programs to sensitize women about the effects of alcohol on their unborn babies. This is because many child mortality cases are believed to have been caused by alcohol. The media is the best tool for hosting such campaigns. Besides, legislators should enact laws that prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol by pregnant women.


Hendrick, C.V. (2006). Psychiatric Disorders in Pregnancy and the Postpartum: Principles and Treatment, New Jersey: Humana Press.

Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2007). Effects of Alcohol on Women. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Web.

Tucker, S.B. (2007). Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Physiology: A Clinical Perspective. Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.

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