The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released a new report regarding the use of alcohol during pregnancy and the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to a broad range of adverse developmental effects. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the term which encompasses the range of adverse effects associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.  While fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is at one end of the spectrum in terms of severity and has been associated with consumption of greater quantities of alcohol, more recent research suggests that even small amounts of alcohol can negatively affect the developing brain.

The Bottom Line: No amount of alcohol consumption is safe during any trimester of pregnancy.

A recent study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 10 women drink alcohol during pregnancy. While most women know that there are risks associated with the use of alcohol during pregnancy, misconceptions regarding its use persist, where some believe that small amounts of alcohol are “OK”.  For other women with histories of alcohol dependence , even with the knowledge that any level of alcohol consumption can be harmful to the developing fetus does not result in total sobriety during pregnancy.

Some Facts to Keep in Mind

Prenatal alcohol exposure is the most common preventable cause of birth defects.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the most commonly identifiable causes of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.

Compared to women who do not drink during pregnancy, women with first trimester drinking are 12 times as likely to give birth to a child with FASD.  When women consume alcohol during the first and second trimester, the risk of having a child with FASD is 61 times higher.  Drinking throughout the pregnancy carries a 65-fold increased risk of  FASD.

The Good News: Alcohol-related birth defects and developmental disabilities are completely preventable when pregnant women abstain from the use of alcohol.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Read More:

For Pregnant Women, Absolutely No Drinking, Docs Say (Live Science)



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