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Alcohol During Pregnancy

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The news today is that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy is safe. Prenatal exposure to alcohol may cause problems for the child that show up when they are a teenager.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics
Clinical Report
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Janet F. Williams, MD, FAAP, Vincent C. Smith, MD, MPH, FAAP, the COMMITTEE ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE
ABSTRACT

Prenatal exposure to alcohol can damage the developing fetus and is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities. In 1973, fetal alcohol syndrome was first described as a specific cluster of birth defects resulting from alcohol exposure in utero. Subsequently, research unequivocally revealed that prenatal alcohol exposure causes a broad range of adverse developmental effects. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the general term that encompasses the range of adverse effects associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. The diagnostic criteria for fetal alcohol syndrome are specific, and comprehensive efforts are ongoing to establish definitive criteria for diagnosing the other FASDs. A large and growing body of research has led to evidence-based FASD education of professionals and the public, broader prevention initiatives, and recommended treatment approaches based on the following premises:

▪ Alcohol-related birth defects and developmental disabilities are completely preventable when pregnant women abstain from alcohol use.

▪ Neurocognitive and behavioral problems resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure are lifelong.

▪ Early recognition, diagnosis, and therapy for any condition along the FASD continuum can result in improved outcomes.

▪ During pregnancy:

◦no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe;

◦there is no safe trimester to drink alcohol;

◦all forms of alcohol, such as beer, wine, and liquor, pose similar risk; and

◦binge drinking poses dose-related risk to the developing fetus.

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/10/13/peds.2015-3113

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My friend has adopted children with fetal alcohol syndrome. One of her 22-year-old twins is entirely missing a portion of his brain. The other, the less impaired twin, struggles with impulse control. Both are mentally retarded and neither will ever be able to live and work independently. When my friend and her husband pass on, these kids will have to be institutionalized.

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http://m.bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/9/e005462.full

Conclusions Our study suggests that even modest habitual alcohol consumption of more than 5 units per week had adverse effects on semen quality although most pronounced associations were seen in men who consumed more than 25 units per week. Alcohol consumption was also linked to changes in testosterone and SHBG levels.

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This is tragic because its one of the few things a pregnant woman has COMPLETE control over, in terms of outcome for the child. 

 

Is this really true though? I thought that there were many things outside of the woman's control, it isn't really fair to blame the mother for the outcome of her child in every situation (alcohol, drugs or whatever aside, sometimes a woman is unlucky)

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