One More Reason to Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy.

Smoking and drinking during pregnancy

Smoking and drinking during pregnancy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rachel Kendall (11 AM Micro) offers this warning from Science Daily about the detrimental effects of alcohol on the developing fetus.  NOTE: ice cream is still OK.

Pregnancy is a time where the fetus develops rapidly. Many vital organs develop during the first few months of pregnancy. During the pregnancy, the fetus may be exposed to many teratogens, including smoke and alcohol. Pregnant mothers are continuously warned by doctors not to drink alcohol during the pregnancy, due to the negative effects it can cause. Other doctors claim that moderate drinking will not cause any damage to the developing fetus. There are many mothers that will drink small amounts of alcohol, thinking that it will not cause harm the fetus. Many other mothers, who before they found out they were pregnant, drank a lot of alcohol. Other mothers abstained completely from alcohol.

A study done by the Universities of Bristol and Oxford has proven that drinking even a small amount of alcohol during pregnancy has detrimental effects on a fetus. Researchers tested pregnant women who did not drink and pregnant women who did drink in moderation in the duration of their pregnancy. By asking the pregnant women to fill out questionnaires during their pregnancy, the researchers were able to compile the data together to see if there was any link between alcohol and fetus development.

The doctors asked the pregnant women, at 18 weeks, a variety of questions including: “the average amount and frequency of alcohol consumption before the current pregnancy, during the first trimester, and in the previous two weeks or at the time when they first felt the baby move.” They asked the same women, again at 32 weeks, how much she drank during the week. If the pregnant women drank at all during her pregnancy, even if it was only one drink, she was considered a drinker. Pregnant women who had drunk “two pints of beer” during the pregnancy were excluded from the research. This allowed the researchers to determine if there was a correlation between drinking in moderation and the IQ of the fetus. It would also determine if alcohol, even at a small level, is damaging to the fetus.

What was found by the data contradicted what some doctors claimed. There was a positive correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed and the lower IQ of the children. Drinking, even in moderation, is harmful to fetal development, causing a drop in IQ. The research found that “the child’s IQ was on average almost two points lower.” This drop of the child’s IQ was only observed in the pregnant women who drank in moderation, indicating that alcohol was the cause of the IQ decrease. This study proves that “Our results suggest that even at levels of alcohol consumption which are normally considered to be harmless, we can detect differences in childhood IQ.” Drinking of even one drink can negatively affect the developing fetus. Pregnant women now have even more of a reason to avoid alcohol at all costs. Alcohol not only negatively affects fetuses at a high level, but has now been proven to affect them at a low level, by decreasing the intelligence of the fetus.

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About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on November 27, 2012, in Guest Post, The more you know. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on One More Reason to Avoid Alcohol During Pregnancy..

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