Pregnancy comes with an indefinite number of rules — things you can do and things you must avoid. But, how about drinking red wine during pregnancy? Is it ok to enjoy it once in a while or should red wine be avoided completely?
Food restrictions during pregnancy are common where you need to give up certain foods and beverages for the goodness of the fetus. You could have been partying all the way long before pregnancy and a glass of wine may not be a big deal for you. However, the same practice is not recommended during your pregnancy phase.
There could be a few moms who could have safely delivered the baby after consumption of red wine during pregnancy. Does that mean it is safe to consume? Let us see.
What Is Red Wine?
Red wine is made by crushing and fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. Many believe it to do wonders when taken in moderate quantities. However, there is no proper definition/indication for the moderate quantity. There are types of red wine that vary in taste and color.
The alcohol content present in red wine is between 12%-15%. It is unique from white wine as it comes with a different base material and production process.
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During red wine production, dark skin grapes are chosen over light skin ones. The winemaker allows the pressed grape juice to macerate and ferment with the dark grape skins that adds tannin, color, and flavor to the wine.
Is It Safe To Have Red Wine During Pregnancy?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, no amount of alcohol during pregnancy is safe. Though red wine may sound like elite alcohol that is safe compared to beer or vodka, all alcohol contains the same chemical.
Red wine contains ethyl alcohol or ethanol, a toxin to your body — and especially to your tiny baby. Drinking alcohol at any time during pregnancy can cause serious health problems for your baby as the alcohol in your blood rapidly passes through the placenta and the umbilical cord to your baby.
Drinking even a small amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can harm your baby’s developing brain and other organs. Therefore, red wine during pregnancy is not recommended.
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Benefits Of Red Wine During Pregnancy
Though red wine during pregnancy is not recommended in many cases, in ancient times, the dry form of red wine was given to the moms-to-be to make the child more intellectual.
Many doctors abroad believe that a small quantity of red wine is likely to make the child more intelligent than the other kids of their age. However, on the other side alcohol consumption during pregnancy is strictly prohibited across the globe.
A new study was conducted on moderate consumption of red wine during pregnancy. The findings were submitted at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual Congress held in Texas.
It was found that the participating women who had five servings of red wine benefited more than consuming other alcoholic beverages like beer and white wine.
Also, according to a 2018 study drinking red wine in moderation seems to have the following benefits.
1. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are very vital for pregnant women as these are substances that can prevent or slow the damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that affect the body.
They help to prevent pregnant women from oxidative stress which is linked to cancer, atherosclerosis, and vision loss.
2. Cardiovascular health
There are many studies in favor of consuming red wine in moderation that benefits the heart. According to a 2019 study drinking red wine has been seen to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
It was also believed that people who drink red wine in moderation may also follow a more healthful lifestyle. However excess alcohol during pregnancy could also pose great threats to the unborn baby.
The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) recommends a glass of wine (5 ounces) per day for females and 2 glasses of wine for males.
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3. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, in pregnant women. With the help of a good and healthy diet along with a few exercises, it is easy to have type 2 diabetes under control.
Red wine during pregnancy when taken daily at dinner was seen to keep diabetes in control as the ethanol in wine plays a crucial role in metabolizing glucose. However, it is safe only when taken in moderation.
4. Keeps blood pressure under control
Some pregnant women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy which can put both the mother and the baby at a risk. This could also lead to complications such as preterm delivery.
The American Heart Association (AHA) confirms that the antioxidant— resveratrol present in red wine helps to keep blood pressure under control.
Also, in 2006 a study confirmed that the procyanidins component present in red wine helped keep blood vessels healthy. However, it is important to note that too much alcohol could increase blood pressure.
5. Fights depression
Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. This stress can take a toll on your body because of which you might experience depression during pregnancy. This could also lead to postpartum depression.
According to a 2013 study, consuming 2-7 glasses of wine each week helped reduce stress levels.
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Risks Of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy
Given the growing awareness of the risks of drinking while pregnant, many women are aware that any alcohol use during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Even a small glass of red wine during pregnancy’s second trimester poses a great threat to the fetus. There could be a misconception that red wine is safer in comparison to liquor. Remember, that any alcohol contains chemicals that are unsafe for the baby as it affects its growth and development.
Effects of red wine on baby
Listed below are the harmful effects of red wine on your baby.
1. Red wine during pregnancy could hurt the fetus as the alcohol consumed travels through the placenta and goes into the baby.
2. When an excess level of alcohol is consumed, it causes blood concentration that is too much for the fetus to handle.
3. Nutrition is vital for the growth of the baby. Red wine during pregnancy third trimester could hinder these nutrient levels.
4. According to a study in 2017, too much alcohol could lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
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Effects of red wine on pregnancy
Listed below are the harmful effects of red wine during pregnancy.
1. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy could increase the chances of preterm birth. This refers to babies born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature babies face severe problems during and after birth.
2. Red wine during pregnancy could have effects on the fetus’s brain and development.
3. Alcohol during pregnancy could create problems such as heart defects, hearing problems, or vision problems. These problems can change the overall development of the baby and could cause lifelong complications.
4. Children whose parents consume red wine during pregnancy are usually low in weight at the time of birth.
5. Red wine during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage. This means the fetus dies inside the mother’s womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
6. Similar to miscarriage, when the babies die at the mother’s womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy it is referred to as stillbirth.
Related Reading: 10 Common Causes Of Miscarriage
How Can You Stop Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy?
You may be used to drinking red wine occasionally and it could be difficult for you to stop consuming it once pregnant.
Here are a few tips to help you stop drinking red wine during pregnancy.
1. Plan to drink other things, like fruity drinks or water when you have the urge to drink red wine.
2. Try to avoid parties or bars which could be a place or an opportunity for consuming red wine during pregnancy.
3. Tell your partner and your friends that you have stopped consuming alcohol and seek their support during this phase.
Red wine during pregnancy is not recommended as it causes many health complications to you and your baby. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, we strongly advise you to stop consuming red wine during pregnancy.
Every pregnancy is different. A few women might give birth to a healthy baby even after consuming too much alcohol while the other case would have been a moderate drink leading to many complications.
Prevention is always better than cure. Remember your desire for red wine could take away the life of a tiny creature!