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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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Help23 · 16/02/2024 23:54

Thank you 🙏🏼 This is a complete aside but whilst I understand they can’t do live studies as its unethical, it’s a shame that they don’t collect information through surveys and following children through life. Appreciate this is near impossible as people lie about what they consume or simply can’t remember but I am sure some can or would be willing to provide data.

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lilaclustre · 17/02/2024 00:13

So what about your current child???

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onanotherday · 17/02/2024 00:20

Do you drive? Because you may well be over the limit in the mornings...sorry op, but I work with alcoholics and see the effects on children. Your description of being able to tolerate so much would suggest a functioning alcoholic...you don't need to drink daily for this.

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Babyboomtastic · 17/02/2024 00:44

I've done that naughty MN thing and done an AS. You were concerned about drinking too much (albeit not too this extent) in first pregnancy as well.

You can't even get your story stage about how much you drank first time round. This thread you say:

"maybe one or two small glasses of wine occasionally with a meal in the second and third."

At the time it was:

"I have 1-2 small (125ml) glasses of champagne or wine 1-3 times a week (very slowly) with a meal"

Which was much higher than the outdated guidance you had previously said your were following, which was 1-2 units 1-2 a week.

You couldn't even follow the limits you set yourself so you decided to up the limits, but are now backtracking on how much you drank.

This being unable to stuck to limits, retrospectively finding justification to alter them, misleading others about how much you drink are all huge red flags for alcoholism.

Not just for the sake of your invited baby, but your other child, your partner and very importantly, yourself, please try and get some treatment and support for alcoholism. The impact of having an alcoholic mother is huge. Please get it sorted.

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mathanxiety · 17/02/2024 01:52

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.

This is British drinking cumture speaking. The idea that it's 'punitive' comes from a basic assumption that adults who hold down a job will be going out and drinking themselves under the table regularly. You'd only find it punitive or impractical if you had a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol or an irresponsible attitude toward safe sex.

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mathanxiety · 17/02/2024 02:03

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.

Everything you've posted about your drinking reveals you plan it.

And you rationalise it - you have a high tolerance, you never drive drunk, you wouldn't carry your child upstairs if you felt tipsy, you had a hard time at work, husband was away, etc. You have decided that you can continue drinking and nobody will be harmed by it.

Alcohol isn't the answer to stress, and the volume you're putting away will catch up with you. You don't want to hear this.

Are you too invested in the drinking you're prioritising right now to take your future seriously?

For the sake of Future You, and for your husband and child, I urge you to get help to stop drinking.

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Neveralonewithaclone · 17/02/2024 05:07

Thank you OP, that was a very kind post. Logically I know that, as the adhd is far more severe in the child in which I didn't drink at all either before or after conception, the child who i did binge drink 3 times with very likely would have had mild asd no matter what.

Also that child is tall and was a very good birth weight. And asd/adhd are utterly rife in my family, I'd be hard pressed to think of someone without it. But i have no peace over it, I've been to AA meetings where women have confessed that they drank in pregnancy and they are very difficult tales to hear.

As you found out at 6.5 weeks that's very very early. It's a choice for you, your husband and medical specialists. You're not the first, you won't be the last.

I made the decision to abort also because I knew at that stage in my life I actually couldn't stop drinking for the remainder of the pregnancy and I knew I didn't want to even attempt to stay with the father. I was in a mess. Your life is not otherwise in a mess.

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Neveralonewithaclone · 17/02/2024 05:15

No one can tell anyone else whether they are an alcoholic, it's a state of mind, an obsessive way of being and drinking that goes beyond actual drinking.

There are many many people who have extremely boozy periods of their life and then they just simply stop or become very moderate. Very few alcoholics are physically dependent on drink beyond feeling rough for the first few weeks after giving up.

Think of how many university students drink heavily and then just don't afterwards. Or people in the depths of grief who crawl into the bottle for a year then just stop. Many people simply click out of problem drinking because they decide to. Others don't and have deeper and more challenging obsessive behaviours.

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babyproblems · 17/02/2024 05:31

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 seems good advice to me; agree you need to speak to your Gp and a midwife.
Get help for your drinking op… those amounts aren’t normal and won’t lead to a good life. If I am right you have a child already- please get help for their sake. X

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Advertisements · 17/02/2024 07:59

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.

Yet you’re not planning on controlling what you do going forward, you’re planning already when you’re going to have your next drink? You’ve already said Christmas 2024. Surely you should be using this as a springboard to assess your drink problem?

Every single person: You have a drink problem OP, this isn’t normal.
OP: No I dont , everyone drinks in pregnancy and it’s fine, I’m going to drink again when the baby is born, I can binge drink lots and often do for weeks but I don’t have a problem. Stop trying to make me feel bad!!

I hope for your children’s sakes you wake up soon OP. No one here is trying to make you feel bad for fun, they’re trying to get you to open your eyes and recognise you’re an alcoholic and your poor kids will be the ones who feel that. Have you considered what this is doing to your health and the impact that will have on your children?

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Advertisements · 17/02/2024 08:04

Neveralonewithaclone · 17/02/2024 05:15

No one can tell anyone else whether they are an alcoholic, it's a state of mind, an obsessive way of being and drinking that goes beyond actual drinking.

There are many many people who have extremely boozy periods of their life and then they just simply stop or become very moderate. Very few alcoholics are physically dependent on drink beyond feeling rough for the first few weeks after giving up.

Think of how many university students drink heavily and then just don't afterwards. Or people in the depths of grief who crawl into the bottle for a year then just stop. Many people simply click out of problem drinking because they decide to. Others don't and have deeper and more challenging obsessive behaviours.

There are clear signs of alcoholism in the OPs posts. The excuses, blaming work (no one needs to drink for work), the defensiveness, the planning on when they can drink again, the high tolerance. There are different types of alcoholics and it’s like smoking, people stop when pregnant and then start again - they’re still addicted. The OP clearly stops smoking when pregnant then starts again, so she can likely do the same with drinking.

The fact that someone can be defending alcohol and their consumption of it and even defending consuming alcohol in pregnancy whilst wondering if they’ve caused FAS is shocking and shows an issue with alcohol for sure.

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Help23 · 18/02/2024 14:51

If you’ve got nothing better to do than personally attack people you don’t know on Mumsnet maybe you should pour yourself a nice glass of wine and get a life.

You can’t make an assessment on someone’s relationship with alcohol over an internet post. You’ve never met me, you’ve never seen my life or my family.

My honestly and frankness is that of someone has control and accountability over their life, not someone in denial about what they drink. Addicts need to lie, I’m just trying to assess the medical risks over the 6.5 weeks.

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Help23 · 18/02/2024 14:52

They said full blown FAS - not FASD…

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Help23 · 18/02/2024 14:54

I didn’t ask for your opinion on this. I didn’t realise how sanctimonious people are.

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Help23 · 18/02/2024 14:57

I am not going to check this feed again, but maybe will reply in 1 year or so to let you know what I decided :)

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solongandthanksforallthedish · 18/02/2024 16:08

A year isn't long enough to know whether you've caused FASD. And parenting FASD is really hard. Really really hard.

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Liveafr · 18/02/2024 16:49

Help23 · 15/02/2024 00:48

I found the article, it’s more about minimal drinking in first trimester not causing harm, which makes sense but doesn’t apply to my case: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/study-no-connection-between-drinking-alcohol-early-in-pregnancy-and-birth-problems-201309106667#:~:text=Minimal%20alcohol%20use%20during%20the,birth%20or%20low%20birth%20weights. Am sharing it here in case someone finds this useful when they frantically are googling in the future :)

I know the OP said she wouldn't reply to this thread, but I'd still like to adress this post in case anyone reads it and thinks "a Harvard study showed that minimal alcohol in the first trimester is ok". I've read the article linked in that post and here's what is says :
"Dr. Fergus McCarthy and colleagues from Ireland, England, New Zealand, and Australia compared birth outcomes among 5,628 women who were pregnant for the first time between 2004 and 2011."
"Rates of premature birth, babies with low birth weight or small size, and pre-eclampsia [...) were similar across the alcohol consumption categories"
As far as I know (the article doesn't link the full study), this study only assessed outcomes related to birth and maternal health. It did not study anything about the baby's health, development, or cognitive functioning so jumping to the conclusion that "drinking during the first trimester is ok/causes no harm" is a huge huge leap.

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WithACatLikeTread · 18/02/2024 16:53

You seem more worried about your unborn than the child you already have. Being honest if I knew your circumstances properly and in real life I would report you to social services. You ignore all posts about your living child. I remember an alcoholic father so I reckon they will.

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Cowboybuilderwoes · 18/02/2024 19:58

Help23 · 18/02/2024 14:57

I am not going to check this feed again, but maybe will reply in 1 year or so to let you know what I decided :)

Good luck OP! I hope that we get a lovely update about your thriving newborn.

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boomingaround · 19/02/2024 11:47

There is a podcast on radio 4 called Child which says that there is no transfer of blood between mother and baby until 8 weeks. So your blood will not have got to the baby in the early days.

However, I'm quite shocked by your blasé attitude to how much you're drinking generally. I know you say you have a high tolerance but it's more about the effect on your health and the fact that whether or not you want to admit it, the level and type of drinking you describe indicates you have an alcohol problem.

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MaryActsLikeSheDontCare · 19/02/2024 12:47

Your last pregnancy “"I have 1-2 small (125ml) glasses of champagne or wine 1-3 times a week (very slowly) with a meal" is hardly “occasionally”. It sounds to be a bottle of wine or so a week.

You sound like a full blown alcoholic to me, and if you were honest with your GP or midwife, I’m sure they’d refer you to the addiction services. You have all the characteristics of an addict - minimizing, getting defensive, being dishonest, making excuses.. “with a meal” “slowly” and other nonsense.

I don’t mean to be unkind or kick you when you’re down, but you need to wake up to the fact that you drink far too much, and need help. You also sound far more concerned about this baby, rather than your other child.

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HannahBanana1980 · 22/02/2024 01:32

but I thought the blood stream gets to the yolk sack which feeds the baby? Hence the risks in early pregnancy, and @Help23’s original concern.

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HannahBanana1980 · 22/02/2024 01:41

MaryActsLikeSheDontCare · 19/02/2024 12:47

Your last pregnancy “"I have 1-2 small (125ml) glasses of champagne or wine 1-3 times a week (very slowly) with a meal" is hardly “occasionally”. It sounds to be a bottle of wine or so a week.

You sound like a full blown alcoholic to me, and if you were honest with your GP or midwife, I’m sure they’d refer you to the addiction services. You have all the characteristics of an addict - minimizing, getting defensive, being dishonest, making excuses.. “with a meal” “slowly” and other nonsense.

I don’t mean to be unkind or kick you when you’re down, but you need to wake up to the fact that you drink far too much, and need help. You also sound far more concerned about this baby, rather than your other child.

Hmmm I’m with OP on this. She’s clearly articulate, honest and concerned about her child otherwise she wouldn’t have been so open and transparent.

My mother was an alcoholic, all the way through her 3 pregnancies with us and I promise you that she had neither a) the willpower to stop on finding out, or b) moderate to a small glass of wine with some meals.

Either way it’s not for a bunch of MNers on the internet to start feigning concern for her son, or assuming they know the ins and outs of her life, clearly she has a successful job and DH. And didn’t ask for input on that.

OP - I wish you every success with the pregnancy, keep healthy as you are doing, eat all the best food you can, give the booze a complete break until the birth or first couple of months of BFing to support brain development.. get tests to reassure yourself throughout the pregnancy..

Please send us an update in the future xx

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HannahBanana1980 · 22/02/2024 01:46

My god leave the poor woman alone! She’s probably ignoring those posts about her child because you are bullying her about it instead of answering her genuine questions about embryonic development.

Probably you don’t have answers so decide to focus on something else instead. She said the kid was at nursery too.. trust me any sign of an alcoholic parent and they are reported. Would you be being so judgmental of a dad drinking beers after work?? Or are we just here to judge and police women??

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MixedCouple · 22/02/2024 05:17

As ofhers said the risks are lower st this point. But if wouod soesk to GP and Midwife and consultant. Drinking anything in pregnanxy is not a good idea. There is 0 safe level.
If your unable to give up alcohol then please gets some help. A glass here and there im 2md and 3rd trimester is not good. Ghere are no safe levels. So O would.focus on.getting support for Alcohol Abuse.
All yhe best

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