By Cheri Hinshelwood
We’re all influenced by what we see, even expectant moms. Memes and fun videos on social media make it hard to discern fact from fiction about alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Misinformation mixed with humor about alcoholic drinks for moms called “mommy juice” create a recipe that can affect the health of mom and her unborn baby.
Let’s face it, pregnancy and parenthood are stressful.
“The truth is there’s no safe type, no safe amount, and no safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy,” said Amy Hendricks, Program Coordinator, The North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program. “A baby’s brain and nervous system develop at about three weeks gestation, before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Alcohol exposure this early can affect your baby’s brain.”
In North Carolina, about one in 20 school-age children may have life-long effects from prenatal alcohol exposure. Abstaining from any alcoholic drinks including wine, beer or mixed drinks is the healthiest choice.
“We’ve been told that having one glass of wine here and there won’t hurt during pregnancy, and that’s a risk I hope expectant mothers don’t take,” said Hendricks. Planning your family by giving up alcohol is the safest option.
So how can women and pregnant women safely relieve stress?
“Studies show even moderate exercise reduces stress and releases happy, mood-boosting chemicals. From brisk walks and low impact aerobics to yoga or swimming, talk with your doctor about options for you,” said Hendricks.
Mindfulness, a deep-breathing practice, trains your mind to focus on one moment at a time and can be done anywhere. Another stress-reducing option is guided meditation, which helps put you in a calm state of being.
Other options are daily neck and shoulder stretches, budgeting and finding solutions to your concerns with friends or your partner. Consider making more holistic choices during this exciting time!
Amy Hendricks, is the Program Coordinator with The North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program.