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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

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ghlily · 16/02/2024 01:09

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.

But are you still insisting on drinking wine with your meals later on in the pregnancy?

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:14

Neveralonewithaclone · 15/02/2024 04:06

I drank very very heavily, up to 2 bottles of wine about 3 times a week and had an abortion at 8 weeks. I had drank nothing in one previous pregnancy and that child has very severe adhd and mild autism and in another pregnancy I drank too much, a bottle of wine at 5, 8 and 12 weeks - that child also has mild autism and I'm haunted all the time about it. Every member of my family (including me) has some level of adhd or autism so it probably wasn't the drink, but I'll never know. I felt with the one i aborted that I had just had far far too much. I had a serious alcohol problem which I kicked many years ago. Tbh op, the guilt is hell, I'm glad I had an abortion.

Please don’t beat yourself up about the autism, it is genetic, you can see that in so far as it is more severe when you didn’t drink. It was just unlucky and nothing you did wrong. It’s in my family too. You’re right though that there is a risk of drinking heavily, based on my research (which is driving me a bit mad this week) there are so many defects that can creep in from alcohol in the embryonic stage. So I understand why you don’t regret it, and hope I don’t either if I come to that decision x

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:18

Obviously not after what happened, I wouldn’t be able to touch a drop if I am to give the baby the chance to repair any damage caused by what happened in the first 6 weeks. I’m not an idiot. I based the small glass of wine with a meal occasionally based on Emily Oster’s book and economic research, which made it very clear not to drink in the first trimester, which I followed (because I knew I was pregnant).

Your comment is incredibly unhelpful. You’re just trying to bully me to make me feel more shit than I already do.

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RiderofRohan · 16/02/2024 01:23

As a GP, if you were my patient, I'd be offering to refer you to the alcohol service. Regardless of pregnancy. You're obviously not fully dependent because you managed to go cold turkey, but there is a very unhealthy relationship with booze and a degree of dependence. You certainly make excuses to normalise your behaviour (high tolerance, reasons it's ok to drink in later pregnancy etc).

Not judging at all but think it's really important not to normalise this due to the significant health risks it will almost certainly pose to you in the future.

Also please note that alcohol is still harmful to the baby in the second and third trimester. The NHS advice is you should not be drinking at all.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:33

I often don’t drink, and of course I am not dependent, hence why I stopped immediately when I saw the test despite thinking at the time that I wouldn’t keep the baby - it was simply a very unlucky and hedonistic 6 weeks. Again, the reason I posted on here was to make an informed decision about keeping the baby or not - which I will need to live with for the rest of my life and look back on - knowing I made a clear rational decision with the information available to me.

I did not ask for, or need unsolicitied advice beyond the question I asked.

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BadgersArses · 16/02/2024 02:33

OP - I get that this is hard to hear but you are ticking lots of the 'lies addicts tell' boxes. (I can give up anytime, I'm not like that addict, I need the booze to cope with hard times). So yes, whilst many posters have given good information about early pregnancy risk, it's unsurprising that people are also very concerned about your well-being and that of your child.

In your first post you say you have been drinking and smoking heavily up until you did your test. You also say that it's not unusual for you to regularly drink a pint or two at lunchtime, a bottle of wine, and a couple of nightcaps and can do that most nights in a month generally. Now you're saying you don't drink that much.

You say that you don't drink when looking after your son. Then that you don't drink if he's awake. Or it's only at work or socialising. You can lie to us. But like a PP said, don't try to fool yourself that your son and partner don't / won't notice.

There is no judgement in this but there are facts. Your drinking is harming you and your family. Now. I've linked below to a summary of the effects of living with an alcoholic parent. You seem like an intelligent and caring mother. Why the focus on the potential harm to your current pregnancy and ignore the risks to your child?

Irrespective of your decision about your current pregnancy, you should seek help.

americanaddictioncenters.org/alcohol/support-recovery/child#

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ghlily · 16/02/2024 02:45

Help23 · 16/02/2024 01:18

Obviously not after what happened, I wouldn’t be able to touch a drop if I am to give the baby the chance to repair any damage caused by what happened in the first 6 weeks. I’m not an idiot. I based the small glass of wine with a meal occasionally based on Emily Oster’s book and economic research, which made it very clear not to drink in the first trimester, which I followed (because I knew I was pregnant).

Your comment is incredibly unhelpful. You’re just trying to bully me to make me feel more shit than I already do.

Nobody is trying to bully you. I just don’t agree with people spreading misinformation on the internet. Sometimes people need tough love to realise that there is a serious problem. I am on the side of the unborn baby. Your story has been changing in your posts. Drinking heavily before knowing you are pregnant is not your fault, I have never commented on that. I take issue with drinking while knowing you are pregnant.
Emily Oster is an economist with ZERO medical credentials. I don’t understand the logic of trusting a person with no medical credentials when all credible medical sources will tell you the complete opposite of what she says.
Would you go to a doctor for advice on your broken boiler? No.

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whereaw · 16/02/2024 07:53

I really hope everything works out with you and your baby. You can only control what you do going forward.

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HangingOver · 16/02/2024 08:14

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

For context OP, in a bad month, you're on a higher total of units per week than I was when I went to rehab.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 08:40

Obviously not. Unhelpful post.

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solongandthanksforallthedish · 16/02/2024 08:43

There are specialist FASD services if you Google that may be able to help. FASD can mean a very difficult life- do you think you could parent an FASD child? We don't know really when and how much alcohol causes it, obviously no one can do RCTs.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 08:45

You're entitled to your opinion, and I’m not here to market her book or justify very moderate and informed decisions I made based on what I read at the time to you.

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Leonarda89 · 16/02/2024 08:57

I've worked with children with FASD and been involved in research on FASD. There is no research on what is the minimum amount of alcohol that causes harm because it's not possible to do that research for ethical reasons. What we do know is that alcohol can cause harm at all stages of pregnancy and at varying amounts. There are obviously factors which also impact on whether a baby exposed to alcohol will have FASD and not all do, but around 40% of babies exposed to alcohol will have FASD. Only a small number have the facial features (10%) so often it isn't diagnosed. It can affect all parts of the body. Risk is higher the more you drink. Alcohol is more harmful than any other drug in utero. That's why it is recommended not to drink at all and to stop when you are trying to conceive.

No one will be able to say the exact chance of your baby being affected and you won't know until after they are born, it's great you have stopped now but there is a risk that harm will have been done. Symptoms can be mild or severe. I would look at reputable FASD sources as it is still under researched and not well understood.

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Mixmup · 16/02/2024 09:51

OP you don’t seem to want to listen at all to anyone who is pointing out you have an issue with alcohol, but it’s very clear that you do have an issue. Being able to stop doesn’t actually indicate you aren’t an alcoholic. You binge drink to excess, you are coming up with a lot of excuses, you are concerned about FAS due to the amount of alcohol you drink and you have even defended alcohol in pregnancy despite your current situation.
Work is not an excuse to binge drink and I wonder what your colleagues think.

You don’t want to hear it OP, many alcoholics don’t, but you have a really big problem with drink. You need to use this as an opportunity to reassess your relationship with alcohol- having a high tolerance is NOT a good thing, it’s a clear sign you drink way too much.

Good luck, please listen to people on here, no one is just trying to make you feel like shit, they’re trying to get you to understand you have a serious problem.

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DameKatyDenisesClagnuts · 16/02/2024 09:57

Leonarda89 · 16/02/2024 08:57

I've worked with children with FASD and been involved in research on FASD. There is no research on what is the minimum amount of alcohol that causes harm because it's not possible to do that research for ethical reasons. What we do know is that alcohol can cause harm at all stages of pregnancy and at varying amounts. There are obviously factors which also impact on whether a baby exposed to alcohol will have FASD and not all do, but around 40% of babies exposed to alcohol will have FASD. Only a small number have the facial features (10%) so often it isn't diagnosed. It can affect all parts of the body. Risk is higher the more you drink. Alcohol is more harmful than any other drug in utero. That's why it is recommended not to drink at all and to stop when you are trying to conceive.

No one will be able to say the exact chance of your baby being affected and you won't know until after they are born, it's great you have stopped now but there is a risk that harm will have been done. Symptoms can be mild or severe. I would look at reputable FASD sources as it is still under researched and not well understood.

This is absolutely correct. Nobody will be able to give you an absolute risk as the data are not clear cut enough to facilitate that. But with the drinking pattern you have described, the risk will be significant.

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MamaAlwaysknowsbest · 16/02/2024 10:01

Do the school knows that your older child have been living with an alcoholic mother?

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nonmerci99 · 16/02/2024 14:06

PickledScrump · 12/02/2024 21:38

The biggest risk early on is an increased risk of miscarriage. Early in the pregnancy baby gets nourishment from the yolk sac, once the placenta takes over is the bigger risk as alcohol can pass through the placenta to baby, the placenta begins to take over around 10 weeks, so you have realised early on. I would have a very frank discussion with a midwife about the potential risks at this point but I think there is a very good chance that everything will be fine as long as you have now stopped.

This. Focus on being healthy now, and don't worry about what you did before 8 weeks.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 23:04

Thank you, I’m feeling quite optimistic having spoken to the OB and have decided to keep the baby. (Though may get a second opinion next week). She said not to worry about FAS as this is caused by drinking throughout pregnancy. I won’t be touching a drop until Christmas Day 2024 (all being well with the pregnancy continuing). She also prescribed high dose folate to take for the next 5 weeks and said I can go to UCHL in London where they have advanced brain, spinal, cranial and organ imaging capabilities, they will check the structure of everything at the right time so fingers crossed that all looks good at the relevant milestones.

If anyone is reading this in the future, this is the place I went to which was recommended by a friend of a friend who is also an obstetrician: https://fetalmedicine.com/ it was really helpful.

The Fetal Medicine Centre provides care for pregnant women by doctors who have trained in ultrasound scanning and fetal medicine under Professor Kypros Nicolaides.

The Fetal Medicine Centre

The Fetal Medicine Centre provides care for pregnant women by doctors who have trained in ultrasound scanning under Professor Kypros Nicolaides.

https://fetalmedicine.com/

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solongandthanksforallthedish · 16/02/2024 23:14

I think you should report any doctor who tells a pregnant woman that FASD is caused only if you drink throughout. They're giving out dangerous, untrue advice.

Could you parent a child with FASD?

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SomethingDifferentt · 16/02/2024 23:14

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

So much handwringing over your pregnancy when it's your older dc who will really be being affected by your drinking.

You're in the thick of denial op. You're not 'quite boozy', you're an alcoholic.

Get proper help.

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solongandthanksforallthedish · 16/02/2024 23:16

I've just realised you've posted the clinic that you claim told you think untrue advice. Shocking. I'm surprised they'll want their reputation ruined like this.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 23:20

I said I can easily drink that much, and did over those 6 weeks but I don’t live like that all the time.

I stopped drinking when I saw the test, and stopped smoking the following day.

Dependent alcoholics can’t do that sadly and whilst I agree I drank waaay too much over two months, whether pregnant or not. I’m not an alcoholic.

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 23:27

Thank you ♥️ the OB said that the risk in embryonic stage is deformation which either result in miscarriage, no issues at all or minor to major issues. Minor issues would not be spotted but most major issues she said advanced imaging should pick up. So I think it’s true that FAS is no longer a risk that I know and won’t drink again. I will be no doubt fretting and having every possible test done, probably I’ll relax again when the baby is 2 🥹

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Help23 · 16/02/2024 23:33

She didn’t say FASD, she said FAS. I also spoke to a paediatrician who said in 30 years he hadn’t seen a case where the mother did not drink throughout - whilst that’s obviously just empirical, not science - I don’t see how it’s helpful to make me feel shit about something I was unaware of. I can only control what I do going forward.

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solongandthanksforallthedish · 16/02/2024 23:45

Do you believe you could parent a child with FASD?

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