Even Slightest Alcohol Intake During Pregnancy Harms Child

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Creative Commons Kevin Hutchinson

A new study shows that any alcohol consumption during pregnancy puts a newborn at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome.

The study published on Monday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found that drinking alcohol, especially during the second half of the first trimester can seriously harm a newborn.

The study found that for every additional drink a day on average during the early months of pregnancy, there were increased risks of 25 percent  for smooth philtrum, 22 percent for thin vermilion, 12 percent for microcephaly, 16 percent  for lower birth weight, and 18 percent  for reduced birth length.

Haruna Sawada Feldman, PhD, MPH, of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues stated that there were no indications of any safe level exposure to alcohol and that the use of alcohol during pregnancy can cause a newborn to develop birth defects.

"Based on our findings, there is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption during pregnancy with respect to selected alcohol-related physical features," said the authors.

"Women who are of childbearing age and who are contemplating or at risk for becoming pregnant should be encouraged to avoid drinking, and women who are pregnant should abstain from alcohol throughout the pregnancy."

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