- Natalie Battaglia had several drinks while pregnant, and her son displayed some strange mannerisms.
- Battaglia isn’t sure if alcohol caused her son’s problems, which doctors initially thought was cerebral palsy.
- Evidence is mounting that even light drinking during pregnancy can have an adverse effect on the fetus.
Natalie Battaglia was overjoyed to finally become pregnant after more than a year of trying. This meant that she avoided alcohol and champagne, as well as anything that could cause harm to the baby.
With her second child, though, Battaglia was more relaxed — including with alcohol. That time, “when people said to me, ‘Why don’t you just have one?’ I listened a bit more closely to what they were saying.
Battaglia was known to have drunk a glass of wine at least once during her pregnancy. She drank at least one glass of wine. She said it was “definitely enough to feel these effects”.
However, she continued to carry the pregnancy to term and gave birth in 2017 to a healthy baby boy. Six months after giving birth, she noticed unusual behavior in her son. Doctors suggested that it could have been due to alcohol abuse.
Battaglia, a non-drinker from April 2020, now runs The Mindful Mocktail’s recipe blog. She shared her story with Amy Armstrong, Dry But Wet, a fellow sober influencer, and podcaster, to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking, even while pregnant.
Research shows that this week’s rallying cry amplifies the effects of alcohol on fetal brain development.
Battaglia, now 39 years old, said in an email that “we will never know if the alcohol caused my son’s problems, but we will not know that it wasn’t.” “From personal experience, I can tell you that even a glass of wine during pregnancy isn’t worth the ‘what-ifs.
Pediatricians were unsure if Battaglia drank alcohol during pregnancy.
His son, Battaglia’s, would “scissor” his legs instead of keeping his straight and raise his arms as if he had just won a race.
She stated that she thought the podcast was “adorable and so funny and so adorable.” “And it was — until I realized that there was a problem, that this wasn’t normal.”
Battaglia brought him to the pediatrician. He assessed him and asked Battaglia a few questions. One of the first questions she asked was if she’d ever had alcohol while pregnant.
“I just froze. “I didn’t expect that question and I lied,” said Battaglia. “I was embarrassed, and I thought, “Even though it was alcohol, there’s nothing that I can do now anyway so what’s the point of telling the truth?”
After consulting with another pediatrician and confirming their suspicions, Battaglia’s father had cerebral palsy. This is a group that can affect mobility. She said, “I was just devastated.”
Although alcohol in pregnancy is not a cause of CP directly, these disorders are caused by damage to the brain that occurs before or shortly after birth. The developing brain can be damaged by alcohol consumption in pregnancy, but it isn’t clear how much.
Low birth weight babies can be caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. This is known as cerebral palsy. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASD) can cause a variety of mental and physical impairments during pregnancy. These conditions may also be similar to cerebral palsy.
A study found that 8% of FASD children have CP.
FASD can be hard to diagnose because there is no one test, even if the mother doesn’t drink during pregnancy. FASDs affect approximately 1 in 20 children. But, you don’t often hear about those with this diagnosis, Battaglia stated.
“That’s a sign that people and children are walking around with FASD, but they don’t get the treatment they deserve,” Battaglia, now an ambassador for Proof Alliance said.
Battaglia was also asked by another doctor if she had drank alcohol while she was pregnant.
Battaglia took her son, Battaglia, to another doctor for a second opinion. He examined her son, and then asked if she had drank during pregnancy. Again, she lied. The doctor again suggested that he suspected cerebral palsy. However, Battaglia’s son wasn’t officially diagnosed.
Battaglia did nothing to reveal the details of the doctor’s queries. “I just kind of pushed it aside: “No, it cannot possibly be the alcohol.” She said that it was okay to be hard on herself. “I’m one of those people who can catastrophize and I thought that I was overreacting. So I just shoved that thought aside.”
Battaglia brought her son to the physical therapist every two weeks for a whole year. She also practiced the exercises daily with her son. She wondered if her older son would ever walk or play with him. She stated, “That was really dark in my life and it made me more drink.”
The therapy helped his brain communicate with his limbs correctly. He is now normal and does not have CP.
Evidence is mounting that drinking during pregnancy can cause brain damage in the fetus.
All major medical organizations, including American College of Obstetricians and Gynologists and American Pediatric Association, agree that pregnant women should not consume alcohol.
If you drink alcohol during pregnancy, it passes through your umbilical cord and into the fetus. The fetus has a poor ability to metabolize alcohol. It can lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, birth defects, and fetal Alkohol Spectrum Disorders.
Recent MRI-based studies have shown that alcohol consumption in a short amount of time can affect the brain’s ability to grow and develop.
Some doctors and parenting experts have criticized the use of alcohol during pregnancy as being paternalistic. However, some pregnant patients claim that their healthcare providers have advised them to have a few drinks.
The mixed message is due to the fact there isn’t much high-quality evidence about the risks of light alcohol during pregnancy.
There are also studies that show no correlation between moderate or light alcohol intake and children’s developmental difficulties. Parenting expert and economist Emily Oster has pointed to one Danish study that suggests up to eight drinks a week during pregnancy has no effect on children’s intelligence or attention levels.
This study, like others, has flaws. Stories of success in pregnancy don’t necessarily mean that another woman who drinks during pregnancy will have the same results.
According to past research, one-third of all pregnant women who have drank alcohol during pregnancy (or more) will have FASD. One in 67 children will also have FAS.
“One of the jobs of parents is to reduce risk,” Battaglia stated. He also said that he felt like he was being hurt by his mother’s decision to take that risk when she was pregnant.