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Here’s Why Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Consume Any Alcohol

Here’s Why Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Consume Any Alcohol

If you’re pregnant, you know better than to binge drink, which is defined as having more than 4 servings of an alcoholic beverage at one setting. But can pregnant women consume alcohol in small amounts? What about just one mimosa at that brunch with your friends? Before reaching out for it, check out this article below to find out why pregnant women shouldn’t consume any alcohol.

1. You have been warned—again!

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) renewed its warning that women who are pregnant should not be consuming any alcohol whatsoever.

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So why is this important? The American Academy of Pediatrics is made up of 64,000 pediatricians, pediatric specialists and pediatric surgeons from all over the country and is considered to be one of the foremost American organizations in the area of children’s health. This warning that they issued recently is an updated, reinforced Surgeon General’s Warning (which is widely known to do its appearance on alcoholic products). This warning serves as a “best practice” guideline for doctors working with pregnant women—and also to make moms-to-be aware of the danger to their unborn baby.

Warnings like this are nothing new—they have been issued since the 1970s!

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2. You could have a baby with FASD.

Drinking during pregnancy leads to a risk of a baby being born with facial deformities and with a number of neurological issues including behavioral problems, difficulties with social interaction, and cognitive problems such as impaired memory and mathematical skills and difficulties with problem-solving. Together, this collection of birth defects is known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

There is no cure for FASD. Your child will have the deformities and the neurological problems for the rest of their lives. And according to the CDC, FASD is one hundred percent preventable—just don’t drink while you are pregnant!

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3. You are putting your baby at risk for depression.

FASD is not the only consequence your child will have to face if you drink while you are pregnant. According to patient education from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you are also putting your child at a greater risk for depression later on in life. As a matter of fact, one study found that children of mothers who drank while pregnant were at much higher risk for depression that begins in early childhood —and usually means a lifelong struggle against this mental illness.

4. You drink—and your baby drinks too.

Alcohol—in moderation—actually has many health benefits, particularly red wine which contains resveratrol, an antioxidant associated with hearth health—and the health of the brain! So why, if its good for an adult, is it bad for mom and baby? As the CDC also points out in its patient education, alcohol, unfortunately, passes from the mom’s bloodstream directly into the baby’s via its umbilical cord. So if you drink—your baby drinks too.

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An unborn baby is not able to break down alcohol the way its mother can and this alcohol can damage your baby’s nervous system before it is ever born—especially if your drink in your first trimester. The fact is that everything you eat and drink can potentially affect your baby in either a positive or negative way, that is why nutrition and abstinence from alcohol when pregnant is so important for moms-to-be.

Pregnancy can be a very stressful time for a woman—especially if she has financial or other concerns that are affecting her health. And stress is a very common cause for drinking. If you are struggling with a drinking problem and are pregnant, talk to your ob-gyn and find out what resources are available to help you kick the habit—and have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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