Why it's good for pregnant women to skip that drink

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has always been a topic of debate. No one knows how much is too much as there are no defined guidelines for it. Indulging in a glass of alcohol occasionally is considered alright but crossing this fine line puts your baby at risk. Research has shown that excess alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome in the baby.

What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can put the growing baby at risk. This is mainly because the alcohol consumed by the expectant mother passes through the placenta and reached the baby. Since the organs of the fetus as in the growing stage, the liver is incapable of eliminating toxins like adults. This adversely affects the growth and development of the baby leading to fetal alcohol syndrome. Some of the effects seen on the baby are reduced growth, compromised intellectual abilities, liver and kidney damage, poor memory etc. Read: 8 drinks or beverages to avoid during pregnancy

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Alcohol consumption during pregnancy not only puts the baby at risk but also affects the mother. It increases chances of premature birth, stillbirth and miscarriage. The only way to prevent this condition is to refrain from alcohol during pregnancy. For more details read: What is fetal alcohol syndrome?

Despite all known dangers of drinking during pregnancy, a new research has shown that it is still common among women in Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The study published in the journal BMJ Open revealed that women across all social strata drink during pregnancy. The study also showed that expectant mothers are more likely to drink if they are also smokers. Here's how alcohol consumption during pregnancy can make your child dull.

What did the study reveal?

The study involved 17,244 women who gave birth in Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The researchers found that the prevalence of drinking alcohol ranged from 20 percent to 80 percent in Ireland and from 40 percent to 80 percent in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The study showed that gestational alcohol exposure occurs up to 75 percent in UK and Ireland.

Women with a higher level of education, with other children and being overweight/ obese showed a lower risk of drinking during pregnancy. All three studies showed that smoking was the strongest and most consistent predictor of a heightened risk of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Most clinical and government guidelines advise women to refrain from drinking during pregnancy, the researchers said. Here's why pregnant women are asked not to smoke and drink during pregnancy.

With inputs from IANS

Image source: Getty Images

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