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Panic attacks over prenatal drinking

(26 Posts)
Mixxy Tue 25-Sep-12 01:23:43

I was 7 weeks along before I knew I was pregnant. In those 7 weeks I had been on a three week vacation and drinking very heavily every day. I attended a friends wedding, a going-away-party and the usual weekend social activities. When I found out I was pregnant (at 7 weeks) I of course stopped all drinking and cigarette smoking. I put the thought and concern over FAS out of my mind and focused on the pregnancy. But now my fears have returned with a vengeance.
My scan at 18 weeks looked fine, but of course doctors can't know anything until the baby is born or even later. I'm now 20 weeks pregnant and cannot stop crying with the fear of what damage I have done to my baby in the first 7 weeks of pregnancy. Everything I read on the internet says the most damage is done weeks 3-8 in the first trimester. I'm having panic attacks and feel like I've lost all joy from this pregnancy, my first. I'm going to my doctors office tomorrow morning, but nothing can calm me down. It's not unreasonable for me to be worried about the amount of drinking and damage I did. How can I get it together.

I'm really sorry for the endless rant.

Susieloo Tue 25-Sep-12 01:40:19

You are going to have a perfectly healthy baby, most people don't find out they are pregnant straight away and some a lot later than 7 weeks including my friend who found out she was 20 weeks just after a very boozy christmas party season. Really hope your gp can reassure you, honestly your baby is fine.

Napdamnyou Tue 25-Sep-12 01:40:37

Oh dear poor you. It's flats at night and you sound desperately upset. I didn't want to read and run.

You aren't the first woman to drink unwittingly in early pregnancy.
FAS is rare. The numbers of women who are not teetotal and didn't realize they were elegant is huge.
Don't forget, in times gone by water was unsafe to drink and women drank watered down ale instead of water, all day every day and the human race survived. Your scan was fine and the chances are your baby will be fine too. Stressing and beng frightened about it all is not brilliant for you and the baby so please try and get some sleep for both of your sakes. Talk to your doctor but meanwhile stop googling and scaring yourself. Stressing out and not sleeping is not helping. Can you have a cup of warm milk and a chat with your baby and give yourself a little compassionate break? You are doing your best and you are going to be a good mother. Babies are tough.

Sending you a hug.

Napdamnyou Tue 25-Sep-12 01:41:01

Flat? Late. Sorry. Bloody iPad.

Napdamnyou Tue 25-Sep-12 01:42:42

Elegant? Pregnant.blush bloody Nora.

LineRunner Tue 25-Sep-12 01:48:53

I didn't realise I was 'elegant' grin with my DD until after I managed to attend a crackingly good weekend party ... many years later DD is currently gorgeous and doing her A levels.

Like Nap says, FAS is rare. Very rare. Very very rare.

cupcake78 Tue 25-Sep-12 03:47:07

I have many many friends who got very (blindingly) drunk in the first 3 months and didn't know they were pregnant! Some put MS down to hangovers etc and continued to go on nights out! Their little people are all perfectly fine, nothing wrong with any of them. Babies are amazing things and, as my gp told me, alot of babies are not found out about till 7 wks + and ladies have done all sorts in those initial stages.

You have nothing to feel bad about! If this goes on please please please go and see your dr and get some more help grin

feetheart Tue 25-Sep-12 05:04:25

I didn't find out I was pregnant with DD until I was 15 weeks <<slightly dim emoticon required>>
During that time I had been in Amsterdam Coffee Houses, spent a week in Germany that involved alcohol and more weed, nearly cycled into a river after an alcoholic night on a friend's canal boat AND had my very boozy 40th birthday party. DD is now 9 and perfect in every way.

I hope the GP (and MN) can calm you down and you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

annaban Tue 25-Sep-12 08:52:20

Another one here!! I didn't find out until I was 16 weeks, indeed the only reason I did eventually take a test was because I had such a bad hangover one day I thought something was seriously wrong...

I too panicked about it, but the baby was, and is fine. I asked every doctor / midwife that I saw for reassurance and that somewhat settled me!

Please enjoy the rest of your pregnancy, it'll be over in a flash and then you will have all manner of new worries! :D

MissMedusa Tue 25-Sep-12 09:01:10

I would think that if you were doing any real damage that early on the baby would have miscarried.

Brugmansia Tue 25-Sep-12 09:01:22

Also, don't forget that the first few weeks that are counted as pregnancy you aren't actually pregnant, ie. pre-ovulation and then just a bunch of cells wandering down to your uterus before they implant. During that time what you ate, drank or smoked won't have had any effect on your baby.

Rockchick1984 Tue 25-Sep-12 09:06:46

According to Wikipedia you would need to be drinking 18 units of alcohol a week throughout pregnancy to have a 30-33% risk of FAS. Please listen to the other posters, you have nothing to worry about smile

CityDweller Tue 25-Sep-12 09:11:10

My mum drank and smoked all way thru pregnancy w my sister (and probably a bit more besides) Hey - it was the 70s...

Anyway, my sister turned out more than fine - 6ft, blonde, gorgeous, not brilliant at academic stuff but now award-winningly successful (and very well paid) in her career, and a mother to two kids herself.

It will all be ok. If you are having genuine panic attacks (can't breathe, racing heart, sweating) go and talk to someone as it may be that other fears and anxieties about your pg are manifesting around this alcohol issue.

Grumpla Tue 25-Sep-12 09:13:47

Obviously there is little reliable data on FAS because people don't tend to carry out medical trials on pregnant women, but a scientist friend of mine reassured me (I was in a similar situation to you!) as "Did you drink a bottle of vodka a day for nine months? No? Then stop being daft!" FAS infants are almost always born to alcoholic mothers who have drunk heavily throughout their entire pregnancy.

The six or seven weeks of boozing certainly don't seem to have had any impact on DS1. Similarly my friend, who was many MONTHS gone when she realised she was pregnant, had been drinking like a fish plus the odd night on pills / speed etc - similarly, no damage.

There was a recent article in the papers about women who undergo cancer treatment whilst pregnant which indicates that even the drugs used for chemo (which are INCREDIBLY strong and toxic) don't pass over the placenta.

Your body is a wonderful thing designed to protect you baby from a heck of a lot more than a few g&ts for a few weeks. Stop fretting and read a book in the bath smile

lottiegarbanzo Tue 25-Sep-12 09:19:24

Your experience is very normal.

The point about he embryo not even existing or being implanted in the first few weeks is true.

To achieve foetal alcohol syndrome you'd really need to try much harder, like bottles every day, throughout.

elizaregina Tue 25-Sep-12 09:34:13

hi mixxy

i had same fear as you as conceived dd 1 over festive period - had loads of parties and family visiting - drank way more than usual....on a regular basis.

my MW said it takes a few weeks for it to travel down and attach to you anyway - so you have a few weeks grace there .

my dd is absoluty perfeclty normal - i really think fas can hit when you are drinking all the way through.

also ealry on this time i was offerd strong drugs to clear hideous migrane - but they said - you wouldnt be able to have any of these in the third trimester.

it is unclear where the damage is mainly done.

however - please dont worry - you have stopped now and worry and stress is also dangerous for babty - what will be will be - and i doubt very very very much you have done any damage...

kittykatskumkwat Tue 25-Sep-12 09:51:36

Mixxey what's done is done and it was done without your knowledge, like everyone has said the chance of something happening is so so rare
With my dd I didn't know I was pregnant till 7/8wks, that was over Xmas numerous Xmas party's, I went on a course for work and drank every night and my bday which started with bucks fizz in bed,my dh made it with a bottle of carva and orange juice he had one glass as was driving I had the rest, at lunch I had 2 bottles or peroni and that night went for a meal and had 5 bottles of tiger beer!! So as you can see alot but I stoped as as I found out and dd is perfect! Don't worry this pregnancy away- I have had 2 mc recently both known about, taking the right tablets no drinking and it went wrong, I didn't expect one but feared my whole way through the other, I honistly preferred the first shock as atleast I enjoyed the thought of what might be, the second time it was miserable from start to finish!! I am pregnant again now and trying to take my own advice x

dontcarehow Tue 25-Sep-12 13:11:47

whilst I know that everyone is talking complete sense, I can totally understand you still being worried, I'm worried even though I knew about being pg very early on and have stuck to the no more than 1-2 units a week rule. But there is an irrational part of me thinking even that might have done some damage. The thing is, worrying won't make everything ok, and the stress can't be doing you much good. I'd go to the doctor as hearing the reassurance from them might put things into perspective, they probably deal with this sort of thing all the time and most of the time its worked out fine.

BonaDea Tue 25-Sep-12 13:20:50

Soooooo many of us do it. I found out slightly easlier than you - about 5 weeks, but 2 days before I found out I celebrated my friends engagement and got so drunk that the next day I couldn't go to work and was sick.

Am I proud of that? No! But in reality it is unlikely to do any harm at all.

Why not mention this to your midwife the next time you see her? I'm sure she can give you loads of reassurance because this is SO SO common.

expatinscotland Tue 25-Sep-12 13:24:13

I think a lot of people do this. I mistimed my periods coming off Dianette and was 3 days late when I found out I was pregnant with DD2. A couple of days before, I'd gone on a works night out and drank so much vodka I puked.

She's fine!

Mixxy Tue 25-Sep-12 19:54:51

Thanks ladies. Went to my GP today. She wasn't super helpful. She said 7 weeks is not too late to find out and noted that I had stopped drinking since. She did raise an eyebrow about the amount of alcohol consumed, as I knew she would and then said "Well as long as you didn't drink like that for a year before, it shouldn't have an impact".
I am a year-round heavy drinker. Not only do I work in a male-dominated industry where alcohol consumption is a daily post-work ritual (I work in the financial industry), I also enjoy drinking with my friends. And just because giving up drinking was easy for me, doesn't mean I didn't consume alcohol at the same rate as a problem abuser. My doctor said that stress is also really bad for the baby, which just makes me feel worse again. I can't calm down about it, can't cheer up and now am just doing my baby more harm. : (

Scroobius Tue 25-Sep-12 20:06:48

Genuinely don't worry about it, what normal people (and doctors themselves for that matter) bears no resemblance to what they've got to tell patients is an acceptable level. If you've drank as you normally do and haven't had any illness from it yourself I'm sure you'll be okay especially since you've now given up completely. I'm 16 weeks and just constantly worried too but you shouldn't be suffering with panic attacks without having some help, maybe ask for a midwife appointment in my experience so far I've found they're much more helpful and sympathetic.

Susieloo Tue 25-Sep-12 20:10:59

Really cross that your gp hasn't done more to reassure you because honestly your baby is fine, I too was a very heavy drinker averaging at least 70 units a week and this was right up until I found out I was pregnant, as my mum pointed out recently she drank throughout her pregnancies as did her friends (late 60's early 70's) and there would be whole generations, mine included, with adults affected by fas and clearly there aren't. I know it's easy to say but you really don't have anything to worry about.

kittykatskumkwat Tue 25-Sep-12 20:16:09

How on earth would your drinking before you were pregnant effect your pregnancy?!?
Am I the only one that thinks that's mental

Mixxy Tue 25-Sep-12 20:28:24

@ Susieloo. I didn't really expect her to say "Ah sure, it's probably grand". I am living in NYC, so I tend to gloss over when American medical professionals mention that 14 units a week makes you an alcohol abuser over here. They just don't have the same drinking culture as we do across the pond. But even that said, I can't help but feel I could have done some harm.

But that's why I come to MN! Touch base with people who know me and the way we grew up, etc. I have to say Susie, your previous alcohol consumption sounds very similar to mine. I guess I'll just have to expect the worse and hope for the best.

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