Effects of excessive alcohol intake for the mother
Excessive alcohol consumption has all the dangers to the mother in pregnancy as in
the non-pregnant state. It may weaken her general health, and may have adverse effects
on the liver, pancreas and the brain. Some of the effects may be serious and life-threatening.
Weaning off alcohol during pregnancy
This is certainly a good idea and attempts should be made to achieve this. However,
since this may be difficult for somebody already consuming alcohol in excess; admission
into hospital may be necessary. It may even be necessary to use medication to control
The acute detoxification period may last for anything between three and seven days.
The period immediately after should be used to identify and start correcting nutritional
deficiencies. In most cases, vitamin supplements are required. This should always
be done under professional guidance.
The role of "Antabuse®" in weaning a pregnant mother off alcohol
This is a drug whose real name is disulfiram. It is not used in pregnancy as its
safety to the fetus cannot be guaranteed.
Formulating own quitting strategy for a mother who uses alcohol in excess
Attempts to give up alcohol when one conceives are noble. However, for somebody who
is already alcohol dependent, doing that without professional help will be misguided
Withdrawal symptoms can be devastating and may endanger life and limb. Epilepsy-like
grand mal seizures may occur within a day of stopping the alcohol. If you are alcohol-dependent,
withdrawal should be done in hospital or in a dedicated detoxification centre.
If the mother has made a successful withdrawal during her pregnancy, then the achievement
should be reinforced in the postnatal period. Counseling support and self-help measures
will be instituted and maintained, in a bid to prevent her drifting back into dependency.
Excess alcohol consumption and breast-feeding
This is controversial. Alcohol is secreted freely in breast-milk and the breast-fed
baby gets as much alcohol as the mother. By virtue of this fact alone, it may be
wise to consider not to breast-feed.
An additional disincentive is the fact that alcohol has an inhibitory effect on milk
production, which could lead to the baby not getting enough and therefore being irritable,
which in turn leads the mother to more alcohol abuse (her crutch in any sort of crisis),
a classic vicious circle.
If a mother who drinks heavily has been unable to quit, then it is arguably best
for her and her baby that she does not breast-feed.