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Drank excessively in first 5 1/2 weeks of pregnancy - V worried

(46 Posts)
W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 09:11:19

Ok, so I'm 33, educated (apologies for spelling in advance though!) and have been trying to get pregnant for ages. Classic scenario of didn't think it would ever happen and have been drinking excessively (on and off) for first few weeks of pregnancy (half a bottle - bottle of wine 5 times a week) I did a pregnancy test - negative again - so continued with self destructive behaviour - test positive at 5 weeks +4. First point - I'm not an alcoholic - more example of working woman who enjoys a bit too much wine!! I have stopped drinking completely and of course keeping up regular exercise, eating healthily etc. Not interested in judgement (I'm judging myself enough already and fuelling existing fears with the wonders of google and FAS affected children). I'm more interested in hearing of those who know of actually evidence of children affected both physically and/or mentally in cases of this (or not as the case may be - hopefully). At the moment, the worry is extremely debilitating, my poor DH is being patient and supportive but poor guy will obviously be getting upset at my upset (if that makes sense!).

Any doctors or nurses that work in the profession with insight into actual cases or statistics would be welcomed. I know enough from my research that serious damage/full blown FAS arrises from those who drink excessively throughout pregnancy, its more marginal cases etc as every professional publication indicates week 3 - 8 are VERY IMPORTANT!

Thanks in advance and sorry for replaying an old topic, unfortunately its a new one for me.

p.s. I do know google is bad, but just can't help it!

PippiLongBottom Sat 13-Aug-11 09:18:12

You will get loads of replies about people who drank excessively throughout the early days of their pregnancy and all was fine. I was another one who did too. And more than you drank. I also continued to drink moderatley throughout all three of my pregnancies.

Good luck and congratulations.

NevermindtheNargles Sat 13-Aug-11 09:33:46

I was not ttc, and was quite shocked to find I was pregnant at 7 weeks. I was drinking/smoking and generally misbehaving the whole time. DS is fine.

I also had a friend who found out she was pregnant at 6 months. Went on to have a healthy baby.

Good luck and stop worrying. Look after yourself now and everything will be fine.


Beesok Sat 13-Aug-11 09:35:12

I work in a nursery with a range of children with social problems - among them a little boy whose mother is a certified alcoholic (in fact, she is so bad he was placed in foster care) she drank heavily throughout her pregnancy, her boy is fortunately absolutely fine! He is smart, intelligent, I don't see a difference in his cognitive development compared to children his age - the only thing about him that is "different" is that he is physically very small (but not in an abnormal way) am assuming he was born with a low birth weight but not sure. Again, I need to emphasize she was drinking A LOT all the way through so am not trying to compare her to you just giving an example of a child whose mother was hardly sober when pregnant with him.
Please stop worrying - you didn't know that you were pregnant when you were drinking and you did the right thing by stopping when you found out, yes the first weeks are important but also embryos are quite resilient and lots of women don't find out they are pregnant until they're 8 wks or more so don't change their lifestyles at all.
Oh and step away from Google!!
Congrats on your pregnancy and hopefully you will relax and start enjoying it smile

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 09:47:36

thanks, that information is really helpful. Its a tough one as I've got this rather bad habit of when telling (only close) friends and family about the pregnancy adding the caviat of me drinking too much (as if I'm warning them that my baby will either be thick, ill or look a bit funny!) I obviously don't say the bracketed part to them.

I told my zumba teacher (love it!) that I was pg (just so she knew why I wasn't really putting my heart into it) didn't mention drinking, but sounded so unenthusastic that she actually asked if I was happy about the pregnancy (I of course am elated but obviously concerns and shock at actually being pregnant are outweighing enjoying this thing!) I'm also not getting very bad symptoms (I'm tired, was constipated a couple of times and a little sickly a week or so ago and crying - i cried when I stalled the car - hilarious) No bleeding though so I'm not going to add the lack of symptoms to the worry - blimey I woudn't get up of a morning!! ha ha

Thanks for your comments though, having my bathroom done so I'm going to shout at some builders - I'm allowed now - I'm pregnant!

CBear6 Sat 13-Aug-11 09:58:18

Firstly, congratulations mama to be smile

Secondly, Dr Google is a pregnant woman's worst enemy. Step away from the keyboard.

Thirdly, relax. Easier said than done, I know. I tried for three years to get pregnant, did all the tests with no issues found that would hinder it, and when I eventually did conceive I miscarried a week later. Devastated hardly covers it. We had booked a holiday for roughly when I'd have been due and off we went, some time to relax and draw a line under an awful period of our lives. It was All Inclusive and all of the resort entertainment was hotel based at that point of the season. I was drinking every day - a glass of wine with lunch, a (liberal measure of) duty free vodka on the room balcony with DH while getting ready for dinner, 2-3 glasses of wine with dinner, and then however many drinks on the evening at the cabaret or in the bar, at least another 3-4 but always spirits (I'm a vodka girl) and "abroad" measures (in this case doubles was the smallest measure the hotel served). I make mysel sound like a right alcoholic but I'm not, I was just on a holiday intended for us to be lazy and self-indulgent and to relax.

On top of this I was a smoker, around 10-15 a day. And mid-way through the holiday I caught a cold that came with a cough. We trotted off to the local pharmacist who sold me a giant bottle of liquid codeine for about 30p and instructions to "take as needed". Even I know codeine is dosed and not just "take as needed" but I was still swigging from that bottle 4-5 times a day. The holiday ended and we came home. I had three birthdays in quick succession so lots of nights out, plus we had our duty free vodka to finish off and I had duty free cigs. Then DH realised I was late, I didn't even register the fact because I'd had missed periods before, I tested and it was positive. I'd expected it to take another three years so it hadn't even crossed my mind to avoid alcohol, smoking, etc.

I stopped it all as soon as I found out, I was 4-5 weeks along at that point. DS was eventually born and is 2to next week. He's absolutely fine. He's a bright, inquisitive (sometimes too bloody inquisitive!), loving little boy and it's never crossed my mind to check him for FAS because he has no signs of FAS. Everything is so teeny that early in the pregnancy and loads of women don't realise they're pregnant until that stage. The greatest risk comes from continuing to drink excessively even after getting a positive pregnancy test.

Your baby won't have been hurt by your drinking, there are many who drink far more and continue to do so. Congratulations again smile

solidgoldbrass Sat 13-Aug-11 10:02:56

I drank a lot in early PG as had no idea I was PG (completely unplanned). INcluding at least one 48-hour bender. My DS is now almost 7, not just healthy but officially GIfted and Talented.

Please bear in mind that there are no guarantees - you can be as self-denying and paranoid as a misogynistic culture could wish and still end up with problems, but on the whole, things tend to turn out OK whatever you do. Best of luck and congratulations.

greycircles Sat 13-Aug-11 10:10:52

I know someone who was at the time travelling all over the world - partying, getting drunk etc etc etc. She wasn't with anyone but had a one night stand and had absolutely no idea she was pregnant from it until she was 6 months. By which time she had been out virtually every night drinking etc - she was young and travelling after all. Stopped as soon as found out pg.

Anyway, her DS is perfectly fine.

The rules are there to guide you re how you should behave on finding you are pg. They aren't there to chastise you restrospectively!

Your best course of action is to totally forget about it.

bigkidsdidit Sat 13-Aug-11 10:19:44

Another one coming on to say I did it too. DH was in Afghanistan fighting till April 1st last year. We had a month of celebrations and lots of nights out to welcome him home. Only after that did I find out I'd conceived on April 2nd confused. my lovely DS is perfect!

The thing is, you will probably worry till you see your baby. Try not to, and try not to google- you will wind yourself up into a tizzy. It's been done, you can't undo it, just be as healthy as possible for the rest of the pregnancy. And if you can, stop telling people. It's an early manifestation of Mother Guilt and achieves nothing except making you feel bad.

Good luck!

bigkidsdidit Sat 13-Aug-11 10:27:48

Oh I should add - I'm a biomedical research scientist. You would not believe the facilities I have at my disposal for flagellating myself! It's so tempting and o understand you wanting data but really try not to go down that route. If you've already changed your behaviour and you're healthy now please don't beat yourself up - it won't change or help anything!

And if you really look, there are papers showing pretty much ANYTHING is damaging. I nearly went mad till I stepped away from Pubmed!

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 11:31:09

Thanks, all good advice, really appreciate it. Pregnant on the day your DH got back, wow, thats a lovely homecoming! Thanks again

daytoday Sat 13-Aug-11 11:32:17

Another one here, didn't know I was pregnant with DS1. For first 6 weeks I was having a whale of a time, drinking lots of cocktails - smoking excessively. Most doctors are incredibly reassuring. I'd say at least 50% of babies are conceived and nurtured with a lot of alcohol thrown into the mix!

dizzy77 Sat 13-Aug-11 11:41:05

Did same: sounds like we're the same age & stage too! Nights out most days in the week sinking at least half a bottle of wine, one notable occasion a friend and I enjoyed a bottle of champagne EACH before having a bottle of red over dinner, plus 3-4 pints of beer on Friday and Saturday nights.

A bit frustrated I was thickening round the middle but didn't occur to me I could be pg (no real symptoms apart from emotionality and tiredness: well, we lost my grandfather probably on the w/e we conceived and I have a stressful job). Turns out I was six weeks pg after doing the test. DS is 12 weeks old and so far, suffering no ill effects. I reassured myself with idea that the rest of my lifestyle and diet is pretty good, really, and lots of the FAS data is based on women with real problems drinking bottles of vodka per day, rather than proper research based on social drinking.

JenniferYellowHatsRedLingerie Sat 13-Aug-11 11:53:30

OP, the placenta doesn't develop or attach to the uterus until about week 6-8 of pregnancy. Until then, the yolk sac feeds the baby. There is little, if any, transfer between the mother and baby until the placenta attaches. So it's unlikely that your drinking will have done much if anything to your LO.
Try to stop stressing, there's so much more you'll find to get worked up about during your pg!
Congratulations, btw smile
Oh, and keep the feck away from Dr Google. He is not your friend for the next 8 months!

Lougle Sat 13-Aug-11 12:22:52

The whole reason pregnant women are advised to abstain from alcohol is that the experts don't know how much damage is done, and they can't tell, yet, why some babies come out unscathed, and others are affected.

There are many cases where a woman drinks in the same way throughout two pregnancies, and one child is affected, but the other isn't.

You should try to stop thinking too much about it (easier said than done), because you can't change anything. You stopped drinking as soon as you were able.

solidgoldbrass Sat 13-Aug-11 18:10:28

No, the main reason pregnant women are advised to abstain from alcohol and all sorts of other things is misogyny and a societal wish to have women under control. There are multiple factors which lead to babies being born with SN or other problems, one very common one is underfunding of maternity and ante-natal care so it's a popular option to find ways of blaming it on silly, selfish, disobedient women rather than look at the state of the NHS.

HarperSeven Sat 13-Aug-11 18:27:53

solidgoldbrass - what utter and complete BS. Excessive consumption of alcohol is the cause of FAS and other developmental defects in babies. Why anyone would intentionally drink excessively while they pg or TTC is beyond me. It's not worth the risk. Women with a moderate amount of intelligence or education don't need to be told that by the government. Women who aren't smart enough to work that out for themselves should be told not to drink so much, because when they do, they/their babies may require extra care - and those costs are utterly avoidable.

OP I wish you all the best of luck - no one has a perfect risk free pregnancy. All you can do is take care of yourself now and try hard not to stress about it.

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 18:41:49

Ok, thanks for for the support HarperSeven, unfortunatley I do have moderate intelligence and a in a very horrible situation. Before getting on your soap box, realise where this thread started. Try going into an American chatroom, you'd be better suited.

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 18:43:33

p.s. no-one has said they have intentionally drank excessively. Solidgold brass may be more feminist in her views but she didn't advise everyone to go out and get wankered

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 18:47:24

p.s. and to boot, as a woman to accuse anyone of intentionally putting their unborn baby at risk is just callous, sanctimonious and said without thought or reflection.

LolaRennt Sat 13-Aug-11 18:50:43

Try going into an American chatroom, you'd be better suited. confused
harper wished you a healthy pregnancy and disagreed with what appeared to be a load of bullshit. You shouldn't be rude to her and make random fuckwitted comments about Americans because you happen to disagree.

I just came on to say that while you are 5 weeks pregnant you aren't actually 5 weeks pregnant. you've only been drinking whilst pregnant for a couple weeks. All the best for your pregnancy anyway.

solidgoldbrass Sat 13-Aug-11 18:51:30

Thing is, the exact causes of FAS and what the exact symptoms of it are, are in dispute (unlike heroin addiction in foetuses which is generally a cause-effect model). Not all alcoholic pregnant women give birth to babies with FAS. And it hasn't even been proven that it's the alcohol as much as a combination of alcohol, poor self-care and other recreational drugs that cause the problem.
I do not think it's a good idea to drink your own bodyweight in vodka, smoke 80 a day and pop a couple of Es for good measure while pregnant. What I object to is the demonizing and distressing of women who either had a few cocktails in early PG when they didn't know sperm had met egg, or those who actually think they are going to come to very little harm if they have half a glass of champagne at a family wedding, only to be harassed by some prick or other who would like to see PG women in protective custody if they don't knuckle down and obey every directive given by the Daily Mail.
GIven that moderate alcohol consumption in pregnancy has a long, long history (a few centuries ago, most people drank weak ale all day because it was safer than water, a few decades ago PG women were advised by doctors to drink Guinness for the iron) if it was that dangerous the human race would be extinct by now.

Grumpla Sat 13-Aug-11 18:52:36

Another who drank a fair bit as I had a neg test (and what I thought was a period) for the first month when I was actually pregnant with my son. No ill effects. Friend of mine didn't realise she was pregnant until very late on (six months) and was teenage booze/speed/weeding etc all the way through - her kid also totally fine.

I really think that at this stage you need to bear in mind that stressing constantly over something you have absolutely no way of altering will almost certainly be as bad (e.g. Possibly bad, possibly absolutely fine!) as a month of wine.

Make up for it by being a clean-livin' woman for the rest of your pregnancy, eat well, look after yourself, rest, relax - parenthood is one opportunity after another to feel guilty about the things you have / haven't done so give yourself a break. You can't change the past and beating yourself up will not help you OR your baby.

W4mumtobe Sat 13-Aug-11 18:54:59

Lola, although wished well, the content of the email was rather similar to rather alarmist (and possible true) things I have read in American chat rooms to make a point - I suppose she was saying everything that I know already - I started this thread for people to offer 'real life' situations, not just generalist knowledge. No offense caused to American's at all - seriously.

Thanks for the well wishing, I do appreciate it..I'm sensitive but no excuse I appreciate

SardineQueen Sat 13-Aug-11 18:55:33

I have a friend who didn't realise she was pg and was on a bit of a bender for the first month or so. Child is now in teens and absolutely fine.

Honestly I know it's hard not to worry, but don't worry!

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