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Alcohol Use in Pregnancy

Michael Baca-Atlas, MD
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When PC RAP listener David wrote to us that he has seen more of his patients using alcohol in pregnancy, our own Michael Baca-Atlas put on his addiction medicine hat to review research and recommendations regarding alcohol use in pregnancy.  

 

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jkone10 -

It's also important to discuss how to manage breastfeeding with alcohol intake. In my personal and professional experience, I learned that "pump and dump" is often unnecessary and does not reduce alcohol content of breast milk more quickly than waiting. Waiting it out is the only safe course after alcohol consumption for breastfeeding moms. Pumping may be necessary to maintain supply during/after drinking, especially early post-partum and during baby's growth spurts so counseling patients on when to discard breast milk can also be an important topic.

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/vaccinations-medications-drugs/alcohol.html

Neda F., MD -

Thank you jkone10 for bringing up this important issue how alcohol use can impact maternal child healthcare specifically with regard to breastfeeding. In addition, higher levels of alcohol consumption can interfere with the milk ejection reflex (letdown) and overtime may lead to reduced breastfeeding duration due to decreased milk production. Excessive alcohol use while breastfeeding can also impact infant's sleep patterns which may worsen mom's sleep quality (both from alcohol and a non-sleeping newborn). To your point about "pump and dump," breast milk continues to contain alcohol as long as it remains in mom's bloodstream.

Thanks,
Michael

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Primary Care RAP Written Summary May 2020 981 KB - PDF

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