I’m Pregnant and I Can’t Stop Drinking Alcohol

Whether you’re weeks or months into your pregnancy, discovering you’re pregnant can be exciting, scary, joyful or upsetting. You may have felt all of these emotions since finding out the news. If your pregnancy is unplanned, you may be wondering what to do now. Even if you were actively trying to get pregnant, it can still be a shock to get a positive test result.

pregnant woman with wine glass

And now you’re concerned about alcohol – how much alcohol you drank before finding out about your pregnancy and how much you’re still drinking now. Perhaps a relative or friend has asked you to cut down or stop drinking alcohol – but you’re struggling to do this by yourself.

Help to Stop Drinking Alcohol for Pregnant Women

Firstly, we want to emphasise this. Alcohol addiction affects people from all walks of life – every age, gender, race and background. It isn’t a lifestyle choice or a personal failing; alcohol addiction is an illness and, with treatment, you can recover. There is hope when you get the right support.

The Addiction Helper team advise people every day about the best help for addictive disorders, including when they can’t stop drinking alcohol. We speak to family members too, who call us to find out about addiction treatment in the UK and abroad.

We never judge or criticise your personal situation and our service is confidential. You can be assured that we are on your side. Our aim is to identify the best addiction treatment for you, which suits your needs and provides you with the best chance of getting well.

Please contact us today for advice about alcohol treatment in pregnancy.

Are you Pregnant and Drinking Alcohol Moderately?

If you drink alcohol occasionally, please don’t panic. Say you have a glass of average strength wine, several days each week. Perhaps you want to stop drinking alcohol completely in pregnancy, but it’s been harder than you thought.

If this is your situation, please talk to your GP or antenatal team about alcohol use in pregnancy. All of the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommend alcohol abstinence for pregnant women. However, if you choose to drink moderately, the NHS advises pregnant women to track alcohol units.

Are You Pregnant and Drinking Alcohol Excessively?

Firstly, you can make a really positive change today by asking for help with alcohol addiction. It’s not too late to make a difference to your health and to your baby’s health. Please don’t waste any time regretting the drinks you’ve already had during your pregnancy. The best course of action is to speak today to the professionals who can help you – your GP, your antenatal team and Addiction Helper.

If you’re addicted to alcohol or you’re a binge drinker, this is likely to cause significant health problems for you and your baby. These can occur during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. The NHS guidance is straightforward on alcohol in pregnancy – “the more you drink, the greater the risk.”

Firstly, your health is very important and you need to take extra care of yourself during pregnancy. Your body is going through radical change. You need adequate rest and a balanced diet to support yourself well. It’s really important to stay hydrated during pregnancy and minimise stress. If you drink too much alcohol in pregnancy, this interferes with all of your most important needs during pregnancy. You are more likely to suffer from mental health problems including anxiety, stress and depression. Your appetite will be affected by excessive drinking, meaning you are less likely to get the range of nutrients that you and your baby need. You are at risk of becoming dehydrated and having blood pressure problems. Sleep is usually of poor quality if you’re drinking alcohol to excess. Extreme physical fatigue, nausea and sickness could affect you more than a non-drinker.

Childbirth becomes much more risky for you too if you continue to drink too much alcohol. The physical demands of natural childbirth or caesarean section will be harder for your body to go through and to recover from.

In terms of the effects on your baby, there are well-evidenced effects of drinking too much alcohol during pregnancy. Between 6% and 17% of children show signs of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a much higher rate than previously thought. Miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and sudden infant death syndrome are also statistically more likely if you drink heavily during pregnancy.

Even with less extreme but regular drinking in pregnancy, there can still be problems. For example, you might drink a bottle of wine several times a week. Before pregnancy, you’ve done this for many years and you have always functioned well. But you haven’t been able to cut down in pregnancy and you’d like help to change. Please be assured, there is relevant and fast help for you too – to make the changes with alcohol now, so you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy without worry.

Two Suggestions to Help You Stop Drinking Alcohol during Pregnancy

We have two simple suggestions, to start making changes with alcohol today.

Firstly, please speak immediately to your GP, midwife or obstetrician. It’s an obvious thing to say but it’s really vital to do this. You may feel frightened or resistant about speaking to a health professional – but please do not worry. Good clinicians will treat you with respect if you ask for help to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Your care should be prioritised as a pregnant woman. You may fear repercussions if you admit your alcohol use – but you should not fear terrible things happening to you or your child. By speaking up, you’re doing the most important thing – you are prioritising your health and the health of your baby.

Secondly, please call or message Addiction Helper now. Don’t wait. We offer a confidential free alcohol assessment and the most relevant alcohol treatment recommendations for you. Addiction Helper can connect you with the most skilled alcohol counsellors, detox and rehab providers, who are very experienced in working with pregnant women. If you are physically addicted to alcohol, where you cannot stop drinking alcohol without experiencing physical withdrawal, please do not attempt to detox yourself alone. We can direct you to the best sources of help.

Read more of the facts here about alcohol use and abuse during pregnancy.

Phone, message, request a callback or speak to Addiction Helper via live chat about help for women to stop drinking alcohol in pregnancy.

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