Pregnant Women

The consumption of alcoholic beverages in pregnant women can cause malformations of the embryo and their offspring may exhibit symptoms of foetal alcohol effects, or a collection of foetal alcohol effects called foetal alcohol syndrome; this relationship has been established for heavy alcohol consumption. A no-effect level to prevent harming the unborn child, however,  has not been established. This is the reason why alcoholic beverages should be avoided during pregnancy.

 

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and binge drinking before and during early pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. METHODS: We used data from 5,628 nulliparous pregnant participants recruited to the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, a prospective cohort study. Participants were interviewed at 15 weeks of gestation and information on alcohol intake before pregnancy and until the time of interview was obtained using a standardized questionnaire. Alcohol intake was classified as occasional (1-2 units per week), low (3-7 units per week), moderate (8-14 units per week), and heavy (greater than 14 units per week). Binge alcohol consumption was defined as consumption of 6 or more alcohol units in one session. RESULTS: Of the 5,628 participants, 1,090 (19%)…
BACKGROUND: There has been limited research addressing whether behavioural change in relation to alcohol exposure in pregnancy results in better perinatal outcomes. METHODS: A cohort study of 6725 women who booked for antenatal care and delivered in a large urban teaching hospital in 2010-2011. A detailed history of alcohol consumption pre-pregnancy and during early pregnancy was recorded at the first antenatal visit with follow-up of the mother and infant until discharge following birth. Adverse perinatal outcomes were compared for 'non-drinkers', 'ex-drinkers' and 'current drinkers'. RESULTS: Of the 6017 (90%) women who reported alcohol consumption prior to pregnancy 3325 (55%) engaged in binge drinking and 266 (4.4%) consumed more than 14 units on average per week. At the time of booking…
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is currently recognized as the most common known cause of mental retardation, affecting from 1 to 7 per 1000 live-born infants. Individuals with FAS suffer from changes in brain structure, cognitive impairments, and behavior problems. Researchers investigating neuropsychological functioning have identified deficits in learning, memory, executive functioning, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor communication and social skills in individuals with FAS and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Investigators using autopsy and brain imaging methods have identified microcephaly and structural abnormalities in various regions of the brain (including the basal ganglia, corpus callosum, cerebellum, and hippocampus) that may account for the neuropsychological deficits. Results of studies using newer brain imaging and analytic techniques have indicated specific alterations (i.e., displacements in…
BACKGROUND: Evidence is conflicting regarding the relationship between low maternal alcohol consumption and birth outcomes. This paper aimed to investigate the association between alcohol intake before and during pregnancy with birth weight and gestational age and to examine the effect of timing of exposure. METHODS: A prospective cohort in Leeds, UK, of 1303 pregnant women aged 18-45 years. Questionnaires assessed alcohol consumption before pregnancy and for the three trimesters separately. Categories of alcohol consumption were divided into 2 units/week with a non-drinking category as referent. This was related to size at birth and preterm delivery, adjusting for confounders including salivary cotinine as a biomarker of smoking status. RESULTS: Nearly two-thirds of women before pregnancy and over half in the first…
The lack of consensus about whether low to moderate levels of prenatal alcohol exposure are a risk factor for fetal development has generated considerable debate about what advice policies and guidelines should provide. Approach: This paper reviews the evidence from systematic reviews and meta-analyses examining the risk from low and moderate levels of prenatal alcohol exposure, along with the results of articles published 2009-2010, after the reviews. Key Findings: The reported significant effects from low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure are likely due to methodological issues such as confounding and/or misclassification of exposure or outcome and there is no strong research evidence of fetal effects from low levels of alcohol exposure. However, harm is well-documented with heavy exposure and moderate…

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