A time of fun and celebration takes place this weekend. St. Patrick’s Day happens on Sunday, and many people use this time to not only eat corned beef and cabbage, but also to excessively drink alcohol. Whether you are pregnant or not, there can be serious repercussions if you over-indulge with alcohol.

The Danger to Yourself and Others

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, consuming four or more drinks in a row puts women way above the legal alcohol limit of .08 percent; therefore, arrest for DUI is one of the dangers of binge drinking. Additionally, you put yourself and others at risk if you’re drunk while driving – you can be seriously injured or killed, or you can injure or kill someone else. That means prison time if convicted of vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Other types of violence can result from drinking too much, including child abuse and domestic violence.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Alcohol is a factor … in about 60 percent of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides; 50 percent of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults; and 40 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and … falls.”

When you drink alcohol in excess, you also put yourself at risk for significant physical health problems, including inflammation of the stomach, pancreas, brain, or spinal cord, high blood pressure, and poor control of diabetes. In the NIH report, the organization states that research also shows drinking heavily causes “a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, and stomach bleeding,” as well as some cancers. There are also studies which “have shown that one drink a day increases the risk of breast cancer in women.”

You can also be at risk for sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy.

The Dangers of Alcohol and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, alcohol can affect your unborn. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby.”

The effects of alcohol on an unborn baby can include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities, with potential for life-long impacts. Known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), such conditions include heart defects, poor growth in and out of the womb, and cerebral palsy. Alcohol during pregnancy can also cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth.

Have a Healthy, Safe and Fun Weekend!

You can take charge of your health and safety by controlling how much alcohol you consume. You can take charge of the health and safety of your unborn by refraining from alcohol.

There are many ways to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day weekend other than drinking, and there are many fun, flavorful (even green!) drinks you can make and consume.

Have fun, stay healthy, and be safe this weekend!