Expectant mothers in the country must completely avoid alcohol in order not to harm themselves and their unborn babies, Dr Kenneth Frimpong, a reproductive health specialist at the City of Hope hospital, Accra, has advised.
According to him, pregnant women who take to alcohol risk harming their unborn children with a condition known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum (FAS).
A common practice among women during gestation in Ghana is to resort to taking a local brew called akpeteshie, which is brewed with a very high percentage of alcohol, to knock off the nausea and loss of appetite that often come with pregnancy.
Dr Frimpong says apart from the possibility of FAS, drunken mums risk birthing children with a drunken appearance, while other newborns could show such undesirable symptoms as unattractive features, behavioural problems, deafness, blindness, a deformed brain, reduced head formation, or death, in extreme cases.
“There can be no justification for taking alcohol while expecting a baby. Any doctor you see while pregnant will ask you to quit drinking …because doctors know that taking alcohol has negative effects on the foetus,” Dr Frimpong told Accra News Sunday July 31.
The medical officer counselled pregnant women who feel nauseous and lose the desire to eat to consult their doctors in order to be prescribed medication to cope with their condition in order not to jeopardise their health and those of their children.
Dr Frimpong said taking liquor during pregnancy was “suicidal” for both mother and child, further warning: “If you are pregnant, avoid alcohol. If you are unable to eat, see your doctor, he will prescribe appropriate medication for you. … Anyone who tells you to take a pint of booze because you are pregnant, that person is not helping both you and the unborn child.”