Drinking and Your Pregnancy

One of the saddest experiences I have come across as a naturopath was a few years ago while working out of my private clinic. A woman patient began seeing me for a natural health overhaul. It wasn’t a normal kind of scenario with a few little health problems here and there. Rather, it was a case of “what isn’t wrong?”

You see, this patient had been addicted to drugs and alcohol for many years and had a host of health problems due to poor diet, smoking, alcohol and drugs, lack of exercise and general neglect. She had secondary skin conditions, and allergies, and the need of specialist practitioner interventions and guidance as well as a total rethinking about how she needed to approach her diet and her natural health.

But she had a load of willingness and honesty about the damage done and because of that, we were able to work together to begin her on a path of detoxification and a new, more natural self!

The saddest part about her plight however, was not her own health. She had a philosophical view about the damage she had done to herself and what she now needed to do to right herself. I applauded her and encouraged her every step of the way.

The really painful part was her son. He was 8 years old.  She had been sober and clean for 6 years, and yet no matter how she transformed her life and changed her circumstances for the better, nothing could change the impact she had had on her dear little boy.


Because he had come into the world with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.[1] And the damage was completely and utterly a consequence of his mother’s alcoholic consumption during the pregnancy. She was now sober and clean and yet the damage her son was living with was irreversible and also completely avoidable, had she taken heed of warnings about alcohol and pregnancy.

He had recently started school and the teachers had already spoken with her about his severe learning disability. He also had all the hallmarks of the syndrome with spaced and wide set eyes, a pixie shaped face and a rather thin upper lip.

I realise the pain and guilt this mother lives with on a daily basis and I also know that she continues to remain committed to her own health programme and has also incorporated a natural health strategy into her son’s life. While this does not in any way alter the permanency of his condition, at very least she knows she is doing everything to nurture and nourish her son so that he can cope as best he can with life on life’s terms when he is older. He may always be dependent on her and others to some extent, but at least he is living the fullest life possible with her help.

I applaud her for doing all she can to rectify the mistakes and errors of her past. And her son is a loved and good natured boy who knows that today, he is loved.

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001909/