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Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11231
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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Hi there Ive just today found out I am pregnant - probably

Customer Question

Hi there
I've just today found out I am pregnant - probably conceived about 3 weeks ago - and am desperately worried because in the past week I have drunk alcohol. I drink very little normally, go weeks without any, but last week I had what I thought was period pain and two nights in a row, I drunk two medium glasses of red wine to ease it. I'd say I probably had 3.5 units each night. I had no idea I was pregnant - I assumed the period pain-like cramps meant I was about to come on. Now I'm scared I've caused damage at such an important time. I realise women must drink all the time before they realise they're pregnant, but because of my age it feels very fragile anyway - I've never been pregnant before and we've been trying for three years. I'm kicking myself. What do you think?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome.
I am Dr. Norm, and I look forward to helping you today.

Although it's recommended that women consume no alcohol during pregnancy, as you say, women often drink before they realize they are pregnant. Unless they really overdo it, there are generally no harmful effects from this.

I started in practice at a time when it was not known about fetal alcohol syndrome, and women routinely drank alcohol during their pregnancies. We now know of the danger of alcohol, but the risk is primarily in alcoholic women who consume large quantities of alcohol on a regular basis.

There is no good evidence that a few drinks will have any harmful effects on your baby. I think you can relax. For a more extensive discussion of alcohol during pregnancy, see here http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/FetalAlcoholSyndrome.html#.U25uQl7dvHg

Best wishes.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That is very reassuring, thank you Dr Norm. I certainly didn't drink enough to feel drunk, just those couple of glasses with dinner, but two nights in a row. I've realised that's only slightly more than what the govt recommends here in the UK but I keep reading this is the crucial time for brain and facial development so have been very worried. Thanks for your answer, will read more.

Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 3 years ago.
You're welcome.
It can be difficult to sort through all the things we find on the internet.
Here is I think the most recent large study on the effects of alcohol during pregnancy http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Citation/2013/10000/Association_Between_Maternal_Alcohol_Consumption.15.aspx which I hope you will find reassuring.
Dr. Norm S. and other OB GYN Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your payment and rating.