A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revealed that mothers who consume small quantities of alcohol during pregnancy are putting their babies at risk.
The result of consuming any level of alcohol is an increased danger of physical and mental disabilities, according to Medical News Today.
“The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely,” said Dr. Janet Williams, a co-author of the study, according to Medical News Today.
The investigation indicates that any alcoholic consumption by a pregnant mother brings with it greater risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or sudden infant death syndrome. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) remains a threat even if the baby is born healthy.
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The study’s authors consider FASD to be “the most preventable form of intellectual disability.”
FASD can result in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning difficulties such as problems with mathematics and language, information processing and memory skills.
Physically, FASD can cause impaired vision or hearing and facial deformities. It can also impact the structure and functionality of the brain, bones, spine or heart.
The study estimates that drinking alcohol during the first trimester increases the likelihood of FASD by a factor of 12 compared to no drinking. It rises to 61 during the second trimester, and alcoholic consumption throughout an entire pregnancy results in the danger growing by 65 times.
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“No alcohol use during pregnancy guarantees that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders will not occur,” Williams said, according to Live Science.
Medical News Today reported that about 50 percent of childbearing-age women in the U.S. had admitted to drinking alcohol in the past month, while 8 percent admitted to doing so while pregnant.
Williams, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, explained that one reason motivating the publication of the study was to counter recent research suggesting that low levels of alcohol consumption did not pose a risk, Live Science reported.