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Pregnancy

HELP: binge drank daily not knowing pregnant

125 replies

Help23 · 12/02/2024 21:25

I'm so sad, I had no idea I was pregnant until 7.5 weeks, I was drinking and smoking heavily until I found out. I don't just mean a few weekends but lunchtime and evenings every single day. I was having both an awful time at work and also a packed social life. When I was pregnant with my first, I knew straight away and touched nothing in my first trimester, then maybe one or two small glasses of wine occasionally with a meal in the second and third. As a result of the risk. I am considering going through an abortion and I keep bursting into tears. As I know I'll never get over this, but I equally don't want to knowingly bring a baby into the world at risk of FAS.

All the studies are not helping me because they talk about alcoholics that drink huge amounts daily throughout the pregnancy that have poor outcomes (I'm not sure of the % which are okay), or anecdotal evidence shows a few big nights and moderate drinks midweek for those who find out and stop when they know are usually good outcomes despite concerns of the mothers. However, I don't find anything that really explains what is developing at 3 - 8 weeks, or how the science actually works in terms of the protective nature of the body etc. All I can see is that 3 - 8 weeks is where organs and facial features begin to develop.

I'm really sad but need to fully consider the science here, or any genuine examples of such an extreme case. I just am quite boozy when not pregnant, can easily put away a pint or two at lunch, a couple of pints after work, bottle of wine and even a couple of nightcaps on most evenings in a bad month. I don't think I've ever had a worse 5 weeks in my life in terms of health.. SadSadSad

OP posts:
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Oblomov24 · 15/02/2024 05:55

@Neurodiversitydoctor
I've already seen that article, and articles criticising it. the Manchester sample was very small and questions were raised about the poverty line and parental heath of sample.

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Neurodiversitydoctor · 15/02/2024 06:03

Oblomov24 · 15/02/2024 05:55

@Neurodiversitydoctor
I've already seen that article, and articles criticising it. the Manchester sample was very small and questions were raised about the poverty line and parental heath of sample.

Really I thought it had been pretty widely accepted in the scientific community. In my day job I am trying very hard to raise awareness and support for these conditions. Please do show me the critical articles.

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Oblomov24 · 15/02/2024 06:20

I'll have you search. I was on a thread years ago, when someone else posted the Manchester study, and the another poster queried it. I'll try and find it.

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TrudyProud · 15/02/2024 06:26

Try to calm down @Help23 . Your baby is likely fine.
With the exception of MN where the conception boards have everyone POAS multiple times a day from 1DPO to determine if they are pregnant most women won't realise they are pregnant until a significantly missed period (c6 weeks) some even longer if they have irregular periods. Therefore most women will drink while being pregnant.

Personally I was of the drink until a positive pregnancy test. Though not as much as you I have a high (for MN and being a mum) alcohol tolerance so definitely drank while pregnant with both my daughters and they are very healthy.

That being said you do seem (based on your post) to drink a lot very regularly but if you are comfortable with that then no biggie.

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Neveralonewithaclone · 15/02/2024 06:33

Just as an aside I assume that if you're arseholed constantly right up to conception that's fine? Then isn't there a bit of a grace period when it hasn't really implanted yet or something? And if the cells are very very severely affected won't there simply be a miscarriage? I read something saying that women who are smaller in stature with a lower bmi have babies at greater risk of fasd. I suppose lower bmi could be linked to poor rather than good health and other socio economic problems.

I think the American attitude of considering yourself pre pregnant if ttc, although ideal for the foetus, is punitive and impractical.

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Winterstormm · 15/02/2024 06:37

If you are prone to binge drinking when you're stressed and love to go out with friends frequently (you said you have a 'packed social life') then are you at risk of drinking heavily once the baby is here? Having a child and a baby is stressful. You'll have to reign in your social life now too. Your son will start to notice that you drink alcohol several times a day and that won't be good for him to see. Hopefully you can stop.

There are zero studies that have checked for a 'safe' limit of alcohol during pregnancy. It just wouldn't be ethical. You'll know more at the 20 week anomaly scan.

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Neurodiversitydoctor · 15/02/2024 06:41

Oblomov24 · 15/02/2024 06:20

I'll have you search. I was on a thread years ago, when someone else posted the Manchester study, and the another poster queried it. I'll try and find it.

It was only published in 2021, I thought it was the most up to date stuff.

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BadgersArses · 15/02/2024 06:47

I am not qualified to comment on the scientific evidence regarding the impact of high levels of drinking on early pregnancy, but OP, you acknowledge have been drinking at very unsafe levels.

Based on your initial post, you were daily drinking more than the weekly maximum recommended number of units.

And whilst that period seems to have been particularly stressful you also say you're generally quite boozy. I note you say you have high tolerance but this has no bearing at all on your health or ability to make good decisions. At the same time, you say that you wouldn't drink and drive or drink whilst pregnant (if you'd known) but you are happy to parent whilst intoxicated. I'd also consider that if you've consumed 15 units one day you're probably not safe to drive for a long time after that.

Unless you are never responsible for your current child after consuming that amount of alcohol, you are taking an enormous risk. You might get away with it. But at the very least, your DS is at risk of his mother suffering alcohol related illnesses. And you are modelling a very poor relationship with alcohol for him.

Please consider engaging with people whose parents drank at the levels you have been.

I honestly, genuinely, hope you get the help to make a good decision about your pregnancy and wish you peace. But please don't minimise the impact that your drinking on you or your family.

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thefallen · 15/02/2024 06:49

Honestly I'd be more worried about the effect your current drinking was having on your DS. Don't kid yourself that it's fine. Whether or not you keep this pregnancy, you need to get a grip on your drinking.

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WithACatLikeTread · 15/02/2024 06:55

Help23 · 15/02/2024 00:38

A small glass of wine with a meal on occasion is up to the mother, and is perfectly safe, get over yourself. I’m simply worried this time about what I did when I didn’t know and wasn’t trying, which was no one’s fault. At least I am trying to do some informed research before making the most difficult decision of my life.

Actually they recommend no alcohol consumption in pregnancy.

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Oblomov24 · 15/02/2024 06:56

The other thing about FAS studies is that it shows that some mothers took other substances.
Which narrows it down somewhat. Because most caring mn mothers, worrying about blw, primary nativity play choice of Mary, Oxbridge personal statements, probably won't be consuming whilst pg the daily multiple bottles of vodka, 50 fags, 3 lines of coke and a heroin injection into the arm groin vein!

HELP: binge drank daily not knowing pregnant
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WithACatLikeTread · 15/02/2024 07:00

You say you are a loving mother but if you carry on drinking the way you do your child won't have a mother in a few years. Get some help.

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Whentwobecomesthree · 15/02/2024 07:14

@Help23 Emily Oster has a new web forum parentdata.org Not sure if there is anything relevant but might be worth a look or to pose a question yourself to source the most up to date data and research

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Vettrianofan · 15/02/2024 07:19

Quite unusual to want to drink alcohol when pregnant. I was completely off the stuff from the get go in all six pregnancies. The smell alone made me want to boak, never mind taste the stuff.

Get thee to a GP and discuss with honesty what is going on at home. You are what is known as a functioning alcoholic. Seek help. You won't be the first.

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2mummies1baby · 15/02/2024 07:41

Help23 · 15/02/2024 01:02

I had a scan today and they said it was 6.5 weeks, so that’s slightly better news than previously thought. It is at 5 weeks in which the most damage occurs though according to my research. So tomorrow I’m going to calculate exactly what I did in week 5 and take it along to my OB appointment on Friday for a full discussion.

Also, there’s been some quite mean posts on here - if I didn’t care, would I be going to so many lengths to understand the risks and science better and putting this information in the public domain to seek as much information as possible?

I am also not sure that questioning my child’s wellbeing is helpful either. He’s a happy, healthy smiley and smart boy with two loving parents. In the settings I am referrring to I am not looking after him, my husband is. I have never looked after him unsafe to do so. And of course I wouldn’t drive after even one drink, ffs, what an assumption to make - I don’t own a car but that’s not the point. I wouldn’t get on public transport with my son if I had been drinking as it’s dangerous, I wouldn’t even carry him upstairs if I felt even remotely tipsy.

Disregard for my own health in difficult times doesn’t mean I would put a child at risk. Which is why I am so distraught that I didn’t know I was pregnant - as I simply wouldn’t have touched a drop in the first trimester if I had any idea.

Disregard for my own health in difficult times doesn’t mean I would put a child at risk.

With respect, parents with such young children don't get to disregard their own health. The amount you are drinking is putting you at serious risk of a whole host of illnesses, which would absolutely devastate your little boy. Regardless of what you decide about this pregnancy, I would urge you to reconsider your relationship with alcohol for the sake of your existing son.

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HuntingoftheSnark · 15/02/2024 07:43

It's impossible for anyone to say whether your baby will be affected by your drinking or not. I appreciate that you're seeking statistical probability but ... that's still so uncertain. For what it's worth, sharing in AA meetings that you drank throughout pregnancy is not as common as most other shared topics - kind of the last taboo.

I do know people who, because of their addiction, drank heavily throughout and their babies seemed fine at birth but have had health problems further down the line. No way of knowing if that was alcohol related or not, but they've beaten themselves up relentlessly over it.

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Starrysky812 · 15/02/2024 07:49

In my experience, drinking this quantity of alcohol is usually a symptom of other underlying issues. I would be more concerned about bringing a new baby into a home where either parent feels they need to consume that level of alcohol, than the physical impact your drinking has had on your unborn baby. I hope you can face your demons and seek the help you need op xx

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whereaw · 15/02/2024 07:56

I agree that you should rethink your alcohol consumption, for the sake of yourself and family. Have you looked into research about what alcohol does to your body, your mind? I think you might be in denial about that as you seem to talk about your tolerance to alcohol like that is a positive thing. Your health is important too, your children deserve a healthy mother.

You won't be able to find anything conclusive anywhere that will give you the answers you want, unfortunately. I would try to not stress about the past as it is what it is and stress is also not good for your baby. Maybe this is a sign from somewhere that the way you are living could be better than it is. Full disclosure I have given up alcohol this year after realising my relationship with it is not healthy or positive in any way.

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WitheredBloom · 15/02/2024 08:50

OP, you’re an alcoholic. You’re been trying to argue here that continuing to drink a glass here and there whilst you’re pregnant will be okay and telling someone who suggested it’s not wise to get over themselves - even though you’re worrying about FAS?!

The posts on here feel like you scrambling for someone to tell you it’s all going to be okay but no one can do that.

You need to book an appointment with your midwife and ask them for support in seeing a specialist. You need to get help with your drinking. You can argue that you can stop immediately so you’re fine, but then saying you have a high tolerance and a busy life as excuses - a high tolerance is a sign of alcoholism. You’re coming out with a lot of excuses as to why your general drinking is fine but honestly you need to use this as a wake up call - you have a drink problem.

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Wooloohooloo · 15/02/2024 13:24

Op your first post says you were drinking heavily every day for weeks but you have later said you don't drink when you look after you son- so which is it?

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LizzeyBenett · 15/02/2024 13:29

As someone who has an alcoholic mother, you really need to look at what you are doing to your child that you already have, my mother is the best person with the biggest heart but she has drank my whole life and it has had a huge effect on me still to this day it is destroying me and our relationship and it breaks my heart because it's such a waste of a life to waste it getting drunk. Alcoholics don't want to see the pain and trauma they cause but children aren't blind they see and understand far more than you think i have memories from very young maybe 2-3 please please get help for the sake of both your children alcohol doesn't fix anything all your problems whatever they may be will still be there when the glass / bottle is finished.

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FirstTimeMum887 · 15/02/2024 15:56

You are a functioning alcoholic, that is a fact. However, whether this had an effect on your unborn baby is not something any of us can know, I think you need to see a midwife or pay to see an OB GYN privately and be honest.

Given how much money you spend on alcohol, presumably you can afford a few hundred quid on a private consult.

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hopsalong · 15/02/2024 21:59

Assuming that you're reasonably young, confident about being fertile, partnered and able to try again soon, and don't have strong religious or other ethical qualms about abortion, I would (as one or two others have also said) be seriously considering that route. If you're on the fence about having another anyway, which is how the post reads, it seems even clearer. I would then make it your priority to stop drinking and get help doing so. This is only what I would do, because of my particular anxieties, guilt complexes etc. I couldn't bear the idea of having a child that I had harmed. I realize that others would see aborting that child as obviously the greater harm.

I have two relatives with FAS (older than me, now in their 50s) and it is not something I would wish on anyone. The facial dysmorphism is what people often focus on but I think the real worry is intellectual disability and severe autism or ADHD.

The amount you describe drinking is a lot.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:05

I don’t drink when I’m looking after my son, the alcohol was consumed mostly at work events or social settings where it was my night or day off. My husband needed to work away for a lot of Feb and March - hence we planned that I would take care then and he would do the lions share at the beginning of the year.

OP posts:
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Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:08

Thank you for your post. I am not religious, I am spiritual and am struggling with the abortion route but if the risks are deemed too high - then I would do this if I believed for the benefit of the child. Met with a paediatrician today with 30 years experience and have an obstetrician appointment tomorrow. As long as I’ve done my research before making a decision, it will be easier to live with the choice I make.

I stopped drinking the minute I found out I was pregnant.

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