DEAR ABBY: I just realized I'm six weeks pregnant. I have always wanted to start a family and raise children with my fiance, but I have a big problem. I am an alcoholic and have been struggling with this issue for a few years. I don't know the effect this could have on my baby, but I know it isn't good. My fiance also drinks a lot, and our home situation isn't the greatest for a child because of it.
What can I do that would be helpful in my circumstances? I don't want to put my baby's life at risk. I tried AA in the past, but was unsuccessful. I'm afraid I'm destroying my family before it is started. -- TRAINWRECK IN VIRGINIA
DEAR TRAINWRECK: You are right to be concerned. If you plan to have this baby, it's important that you find a gynecologist and quit drinking IMMEDIATELY! If you can't find the strength to do it for yourself, then do it for the sake of your little one.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
"There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for the developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant. Drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features. Growth and central nervous system problems (e.g., low birth weight, behavioral problems) can occur from drinking alcohol anytime during pregnancy. The baby's brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by exposure to alcohol at any time.
"If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. The sooner a woman stops drinking, the better it will be for both her baby and herself."