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So Scared, Please Help - Heavy Drinking Before I Knew I Was Pregnant

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

I am usually just a social drinker, a few glasses of wine here or there during the week with dinner, etc.  I had one wild weekend recently when I drank two bottles of wine by myself, then had 3 drinks the next day and 4 drinks the next day.

 

The day after was the day that my period should have started.  I took a pregnancy test to ease my mind, and it turned up positive.

 

I went to the doctor, and he confirmed that I was exactly four weeks pregnant (then four weeks 1 day, then four weeks 2 days) when I had my weekend bender.

 

I asked the doctor about fetal alcohol damage, and he was not very reassuring.  He said we might be fine but that there is a risk, a risk that he cannot put a percentage on.

 

Everything that I have read online, from peer review studies to news articles, makes it clear that a high blood alcohol level WILL damage a growing fetus, especially in weeks 4 to 6 of pregnancy.

 

Please know that I stopped drinking the moment I found out I was pregnant.  Although my husband denies that I had a drinking problem, I am now also in an alcoholic support group.  I will NEVER drink again, but I need to know if there is a CHANCE that my baby will be fine.

 

I'm hoping I can find other moms who have been in my shoes.  Please, anyone, your stories and advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

I am terrified and do not know what to do.

post #2 of 46
I can't relate to your exact situation, but with my last pregnancy I didn't find out I was pregnant (or even suspect) until I was six weeks. During that time, I went out a couple of times, but did not drink heavily, I'd say 3 drinks at a time. I also had a bone scan, before which the tech asked if I could be pregnant. Like I said, the thought hadn't even occurred to me. My OB told me that it wasn't really a big deal, and now I have a super healthy three-year-old. There are no guarantees in pregnancy, but I think you will be fine. My husband knew a girl in college that did not find out she was pregnant until she was six months along, and she had been drinking all along. Her son is five now, I think. It's certainly not recommended or in any way ideal, but I think the body has a way of protecting baby from those things as much as possible.
post #3 of 46
I think the vast majority of babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome are born to moms who drank throughout pregnancy. And I've known quite a few friends who found out they were pregnant but who had been drinking and partying pretty hard until then, and in all those cases their babies were fine. My mom drank all the time up until she was pregnant, in fact she told me she always knew when she was pregnant because she couldn't hold her liquor, so she stopped drinking when she was pregnant because it made her feel more sick, and my siblings and I are fine. I'm certainly not advocating mothers (or anyone for that matter) drink like my mom, just relaying that we didn't have any problems.

It's good you were honest with your doctor, but the greatest likelihood is that your baby will be fine since you stopped as soon as you missed a period. I'm glad you're being responsible and not drinking anymore! Try to relax and enjoy your pregnancy and look forward to having a new baby.
post #4 of 46

I found myself in the same situation... well not with wine. More like Vodka and Jello Shots -_-. I had no Idea I was pregnant. Wen I went to the doctor she told me I should b fine, because it was so early on and as long as I didnt drink anymore. Im now 30 weeks and Ive had a perfect pregnancy so far. (crosses fingers).

post #5 of 46
Baby will be fine, Mama! I worried with my first because I found out I was pg with her after a weeklong millenium New Years party in 1999. It was supposed to be our last "hurrah" before we tried to conceive. Ooops.
She was and is just fine. If you think about it, most women don't know they're pg until that first missed period.
post #6 of 46

I wouldn't worry. I was doing far worse things than drinking before I found out I was pregnant in 2007 (obviously I quit when I found out). My daughter is bright and happy and smart as can be.

 

Don't stress!

post #7 of 46

I agree to not stress. With my first I was drinking a lot and had NO idea I might be pregnant until 6 weeks. I stopped the minute I found out of course but I now have a healthy happy 5 yo. It happens to a lot of people!

post #8 of 46
I also had a regrettable night of binge drinking right before finding out I was pregnant with my son. It was just past the 4 wk mark, and I spent the remainder of my pregnancy terrified I'd hurt my baby horribly. I read every study I could find, like you are doing now. The results were mixed- some scary and some reassuring.
He is a bright, beautiful, healthy, and precocious toddler now- no FAS in sight. I wish I'd spent more time thinking happy thoughts and not consumed with worry during my pregnancy.
Your baby will almost certainly be fine. Take care of yourself.
post #9 of 46
Another vote for try not to worry. I was away in Mexico with DH at an all inclusive resort the week I missed my period with DD. Tequila and rum were my friends! I didn't get wasted but had about 3-5 drinks over 24 hours most days for a week (eating and drinking water in between). DD is now almost 2, super bright and energetic. I think our bodies can deal with a couple of days of drinking much more easily than drinking heavily nonstop. Yes, baby is exposed but very soon has time to recover and eliminate the alcohol. I'm in no way advocating drinking while pregnant but a weekend of drinking before you know you're pregnant is highly unlikely to do irreversible damage. If baby was constantly exposed to alcohol throughout the pregnancy then the odds of developing FAS are much higher. I think the dr has to cover himself so he can't be misunderstood as brushing aside or condoning drinking during pregnancy. Your responsibility is to stop once you know you're expecting, which you've already done. Try to relax. We are all human and do our best but don't have crystal balls. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and know that babies are very resilient. By far most likely you will have a happy, healthy little person to meet in a few months. hug.gif
post #10 of 46

I was pregnant on my honeymoon. I had no idea, my period was due while we were there and I felt like I had all the symptoms of it "coming any minute". I drank every day. Not a lot, but at least three glasses of wine a day. My son is 6 and totally fine. 

 

I have a friend who was 6 weeks pregnant and started bleeding. She though for sure she was miss carrying. She went out and got smashed on whiskey that night. Only to find out two days later baby was still there. He's a healthy 5 year old. 

post #11 of 46
I agree with the other moms that you are probably ok. I was on holiday before I knew I was pregnant and there were fruity drinks throughout the day, hot tubs, and often 1/2 bottle of wine with dinner every night. That child is exceptionally healthy and bright and had great fetal readings throughout the pregnancy. The truth is that no one knows what impact binge drinking has for early fetal development. It is possible that when harm occurs the woman "miscarries" at week 4+ thinking it is their period and never knowing they were pregnant in the first place. This did not happen to you. Your baby is still here so I would take that as a good sign that things are progressing well. 

 

At the risk of adding more worries, I am concerned about your folic acid intake at that time because alcohol depletes the body if it. Were you taking a prenatal vitamin? Were you able to start as soon as you found out? All in all, I think that if you are doing the right things now everything will be ok. More of the fetal form happens in weeks 5 & 6 and by now you are doing everything you can. You're already a good mom for what you are doing. Try not to worry about this. Let it recede into the background and enjoy your pregnancy because a happy and healthy womb is probably more important over the long term that what happened for two days in week 4. In a few years you'll be like me, writing about how all that worry was for nothing and looking back fondly on the carefree life you once led, minor regrets and all.

post #12 of 46
I felt exactly the same way with my first. I was young and drank daily, a lot! I quit a job I hated and got smashed. I got drunk on Thanksgiving. I smoked cigarettes too! I was sick to my stomach with worry when that little line turned pink. I of course did not drink anymore and quit cigarettes cold turkey right then and there. I had a beautiful, perfect in every way baby girl. She is 8 now, smart as a whip.
Most babies are created when there is some drinking going on! The US is also more strict about drinking during pregnancy then many other countries. Our bodies are amazing at protecting those babies before we even know we have babies in there. Lots of development takes place after you test positive also! I know you'll worry. I did but I hope my story makes you feel a little better.
post #13 of 46

I am a rare drinker (think like, less than 10 drinks a YEAR)...but Memorial Day weekend 2003 I got tremendously drunk all weekend when friends came to visit us.....then a couple weeks later, went to visit another friend out of state and drank quite a bit then too.....only to find out 3 weeks after that.....SURPRISE!  o.O

 

DS is 9, sharp as a tack, and an absolute delight.  

 

It's hard to not worry mama, but try.  

post #14 of 46

You said you did your heavy drinking during week 3 then.  Your baby was getting his nourishment from the yolk sac at that point.  Your baby probably didn't even implant in the lining of your uterus yet.  You have to remember that doctors are worried about getting sued.  Seriously, what if there was something wrong and you came back and sued him because he told you everything will be fine.  He can't do that with anyone.  They always make sure they say the risks of anything to cover their butts.  It's kinds like those medication commercials where they mumble all the possible side effects.  They don't want to get sued either.  It's meds that we take all the time, but you'd think they were gonna kill you. 

 

I agree with the PP that the babies that mostly get FAS are the ones that were repeatedly exposed by moms who didn't care and just kept drinking.

I hope you are still reading this.  How are you feeling tbsmith?  I'll check back later today to make sure you are okay. 

sillymomma

post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillymomma2001 View Post

You said you did your heavy drinking during week 3 then.  Your baby was getting his nourishment from the yolk sac at that point.  Your baby probably didn't even implant in the lining of your uterus yet.  You have to remember that doctors are worried about getting sued.  Seriously, what if there was something wrong and you came back and sued him because he told you everything will be fine.  He can't do that with anyone.  They always make sure they say the risks of anything to cover their butts.  It's kinds like those medication commercials where they mumble all the possible side effects.  They don't want to get sued either.  It's meds that we take all the time, but you'd think they were gonna kill you. 

 

I agree with the PP that the babies that mostly get FAS are the ones that were repeatedly exposed by moms who didn't care and just kept drinking.

I hope you are still reading this.  How are you feeling tbsmith?  I'll check back later today to make sure you are okay. 

sillymomma

Silly Momma,

 

My periods are usually 30 days apart.  I was doing my heaviest drinking exactly 4 weeks after my last period started.  I conceived, from what we learned, about 2 weeks before that drinking incident.  Three weeks would mean a 21 day cycle, and my periods have never been that close together.

 

The doctors have said that there may no discernible effect from drinking that heavily at 4 weeks, or the impact could be significant.  The doctor thinks I am "probably" fine, but he really cannot offer any reassurance.  He did say that the embryo was exposed to the alcohol, I am certain of that.  

post #16 of 46

Eh, you're doctor, frankly, is wrong.  At that stage of pregnancy, the baby isn't going to be effected by a couple incidents of drinking that early on.  I will try to find links and sources, but basically there are biological safeguards to protect the baby from outside dangers early on before you would logically even suspect pregnancy.  

 

That being said, my oldest was also an instance of going out drinking and having quite the weekend before taking a test Monday morning only to discover I was pregnant.  She is bright and perfect and amazing.  I would venture to say you're causing more harm in worrying so much than you would have done drinking before you knew you were pregnant.  :)

post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 

I wish my doctor had just said "it was too early, you are fine."  I know that he cannot promise that the baby will be fine; so many things can impact a pregnancy.  But still, his talk about un-quantifiable risks and "not being able to put a number on it" has certainly made it harder to think that the baby is probably fine.  

 

I was drinking during the weekdays like a said, having wine with dinner, but not in excess during the week (i.e. 1 drink maybe 2, up to 3 sometimes if the wine was really good).  The party weekend at 4 weeks was just really, really unfortunate and rare.  I usually do not drink to the point I am drunk, but that was definitely such an occasion.  

post #18 of 46

My periods are long too.  I've done charting for quite a while to determine when I ovulate.  I've learned that a longer cycle means you ovulate later.  For my 32 day cycles, I tend to ovulate on day 18.  That's opposed to someone with a 28 day cycle ovulating around day 14.  So that is good news for you.  If you want you can post your dates and we can look at the calendar together.   Btw, what did your ultrasound look like?
 

post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 

The doctor thinks that the baby was conceived on January 17 or January 18.  I was drinking a few glasses of wine at dinner on most nights, and the random party night (the 2 bottles of wine night) was February 1.

 

So, I was not as lucky as one would hope.  There is some variation in my periods, but 30 days is usually what I go by.  My last period was January 4, and when February 4 rolled around, that was when I started to panic.

 

The ultrasound was fine.  The fetal heart beat was in the normal range, and the doctor said that the fetal growth was on track.

post #20 of 46

At 2 weeks post conception, I would not worry.  If you conceived Jan 17 or 18, and the 2 bottles of wine were around Feb 1, that's just 2 weeks (not 4), which I believe is just after implantation, isn't it? Implantation is around 10days-2 weeks. The stress you're giving yourself about this is probably worse than any alcohol was at that very early stage. Relax, deep breaths, mama.   

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