Medical Minute: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Created: February 09, 2018 02:14 PM

Most people know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can do serious harm to the fetus. What you may not know is that it is more common than anyone thought. Serena Marshall has more with this ABC Medical Report.

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders mean that children are born with lifelong neurological and physical issues because their pregnant mothers drank.

Experts thought this disorder affected just one percent of children. However, a new study shows that the problem could be ten times more common.

Researchers did a large multi-site study to find out, looking at more than 6,000 first graders in the United States. They checked growth, physical features, and neurodevelopmental tests. The researchers also asked mothers about the possibility of alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

Instead of that one percent figure, the study estimated that three to ten percent of kids could be affected. Under-diagnosis was a big problem.

Researchers say that if mom had a pattern of binge drinking - having four or more drinks at once during pregnancy, kids are at highest risk. Over a recent 10 year period, reproductive-age women binged more than ever. The rate jumped from 14-37 percent.

If your a woman who even might be pregnant, your doctor would want you to reconsider that extra drink. You are drinking for two.

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