Wine glasses

Drinking during pregnancy is a something of a grey area when it comes to prenatal health. There is no well-defined limit for expectant mothers to follow, and so it can be difficult to establish how much alcohol - if any - it's safe to consume while pregnant. While there are some guidelines to assist women in their decision, the final choice can only be decided by the individual, based on the facts provided by healthcare professionals:

Risks

  • Alcohol is able to rapidly reach your baby through the placenta, which can lead to miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.
  • Drinking can also damage the baby's cells, impacting the developing organs and facial features.
  • Another risk posed by alcohol is the development of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a number of issues from learning difficulties to birth defects.
  • Foetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe of all alcohol-related disorders that can occur during pregnancy, causing babies to be born and remain small throughout their lives, often with facial defects. This can also effect muscle tone, coordination and behaviour, causing children to have learning and mobility difficulties throughout life.

Contributing Factors

  • Binge Drinking - This refers to a large number of units, consumed over a short space of time. Even if you maintain a largely alcohol-free pregnancy, the occasional heavy-drinking session can still prove to be extremely harmful to your baby. In fact, evidence has shown that babies of binge drinkers are more at risk of developing FAS than the children of drinkers who consumed the same amount of units over a longer period of time.

  • Drinking During the Last Trimester - This is the period when your baby is growing more and the brain is developing. For this reason, some experts have suggested that drinking during this period is related to learning difficulties and memory problems.

  • Drinking Early in Pregnancy - Experts advise mothers not to consume alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy, due to the fact that so little is known about the potential damage this could cause the developing foetus.

  • Heavy Drinking - Of all the factors, this is unsurprisingly the most damaging, due to the large amount of toxins being absorbed by mother and child. If you are a heavy drinker or have problems with alcohol, it is advised that you cut down before becoming pregnant, or seek help if you are already pregnant and are having trouble cutting down. 
While some experts suggest that it is acceptable to drink one to two units a week without impacting the health of your baby, there is too substantial a divide in opinion to provide a definitive answer as to whether or not light drinking is bad for your unborn child. In conclusion, it is safe to say that the best course of action is to avoid the consumption of alcohol altogether, as it is far simpler to remove the risk instead of wondering whether you are doing the right thing.

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First Encounters Ultrasound Bristol

If you're located in Bristol or the surrounding area and you're looking for the best gender scan experience available, look no further than the First Encounters clinic in Bristol. Our state-of-the-art facility allows you to discover your baby's gender in a spacious, relaxed environment, providing room for up to six guests who may want to share this special experience with you.

There are a variety of gender scan options available at our Bristol clinic - here's a quick run-down:

pureGender™

This gender scan is available from 18 weeks, allowing you to view live 2D footage in our comfortable surroundings with up to six guests. The sonographer will also perform a visual heartbeat and movement check, and will produce two black and white photographs to serve as souvenirs the experience. 

genderAssure™

This package allows you to discover the gender of your baby from 16 weeks, combined with the growth and wellbeing checks of the reAssure scan. As well as capturing 2D images of your baby, we will also endeavour to offer a 4D Glimpse of your baby.

genderAssurePlus™

This package provides you with all the services offered in the genderAssure™ scan (see above), with the addition of DVD footage and a bespoke First Encounters Heartbeat Bear

4DgenderAssure™

This scan package allows you to discover the sex of your baby from 20 weeks, and is combined with the benefits of the reAssure™ and Taster4D packages for the ultimate gender scan experience. 

To find out more about the range of scans on offer at our Bristol clinic, please click here. Alternatively, feel free to contact us for more information.
When reality star Kim Kardashian West was heavily pregnant, she spoke out about her experience undergoing an ECV (external cephalic version), due to the fact that her baby was breech. Only 3-4 percent of babies remain in the breech position towards the end of pregnancy, which means that having to undergo this procedure is a very rare indeed. In order to shed some light on the situation and help expectant mothers to better understand the issue, we thought we would share some information about breech babies and what this means for the pregnancy. 
In simple terms, breech simply means that your baby is positioned bottom-down as opposed to head downwards, meaning the baby would be born feet- or bottom-first if a vaginal birth were to go ahead. While this is usually a temporary position in the third trimester, in cases like that of Kim Kardashian West, the baby may remain in the position, which means that your doctor or midwife will have to advise you on the best course of action.

If your baby remains in the breech position you will likely be advised to undergo a caesarean in order to deliver the baby, although some measures may help to turn your baby, making natural birth possible if it is successfully positioned. While there are several natural methods it is possible to attempt in order to encourage your baby to turn, or you may also be offered to undergo ECV, at 36 weeks if it is your first pregnancy, or at 37 weeks if like Kim Kardashian West you have had a baby before.  This involves being given medication to relax you uterus, after which a doctor will attempt to manually turn the baby so that is facing the correct way. This is not recommended in some cases, however, particularly if you've experienced complications during your pregnancy such as vaginal bleeding. 

While the baby will either turn naturally or be manually turned with success in the majority of cases, there is no need to be concerned if your baby remains in the breech position. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of action to ensure safety for yourself and your child, which in most cases will mean delivering the baby by caesarian.

For regular updates about First Encounters, and more advice to help you with your pregnancy, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.