I drank while pregnant and I’ll never know if it caused my son’s health issues – that glass of wine wasn’t worth it | The SunDecember 1, 2022
A MUM has spoken out about drinking wine while pregnant, a mistake which has cost her baby son his health.
Natalie Battaglia, from Melbourne, Australia, had the occasional drink while pregnant with her second child.
"When people said to me, 'Why don't you just have one?' or 'One won't hurt,' I listened a little bit more keenly," the entrepreneur, now 39 admitted.
A few times during the pregnancy, Natalie drank a full glass of wine.
And at least once, she had two: " It was definitely enough to feel the effects," she said on a recent episode of the "Knockoff Drinks with a Difference" podcast.
This comes as new research suggests less than one alcoholic drink a week can affects fetal brain structure.
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Despite this, the mum still carried the baby to term and delivered a healthy boy in 2017.
But just six months later, Natalie started to notice some usual behaviours in her son, which doctors would later tell her are related to alcohol in pregnancy.
The mum-of-two said her son would "scissor" his legs instead of keeping them straight, and hold up his arms like he'd just won a race.
She initially thought his weird movements were "adorable", until medics told her they were a sign of a muscular condition, known as cerebral palsy (CP).
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It's usually caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during or after birth.
"That was a really dark time in my life, and it made me drink more," she said.
However, Natalie's son was never given a formal diagnosis, and several months later, after physical therapy, his brain started to communicate with his limbs properly.
He is now developing normally, and not considered to have CP.
Natalie, uses her social media platform to raise awareness of the potential dangers of drinking even a little while pregnant.
"We will never know if it was the alcohol that caused my son's issues, but we will never know that it wasn't," she told Insider.
"From personal experience, I can assure you that a glass of wine or two during pregnancy is not worth the 'what-if's<" she added.
Is it ever safe to drink while pregnant?
The Chief Medical Officer for the UK recommend that if you’re pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.
NHS Choices says that drinking in pregnancy can cause the baby long-term harm, with the more you drink the greater the risk.
When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your baby.
A baby's liver is one of the last organs to develop and doesn't mature until the latter stages of pregnancy.
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Your baby cannot process alcohol as well as you can, and too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect their development.
As well as increasing the risk of miscarriage, boozing with a bump can also increase the risk of premature birth, low birth-weight and a child developing learning difficulties.
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