New research published in Biomed Central's open access journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth looked at the amounts of alcohol women drank during their early pregnancy and showed the effect this had on their babies.
Researchers in Dublin questioned more than 60,000 pregnant women during their hospital booking interview, which usually occurred 10-12 weeks after conception. The women were asked about their home life, whether they worked, what their nationality was, as well as their drinking habits prior to their antenatal booking visit. This data was compared to data from the birth record and to records from the special care baby unit.
While about a fifth of these women said that they never drank, 71% claimed to be occasional drinkers (0-5 units a week). Within this low-alcohol group there was one case of fetal alcohol syndrome, so it is likely that some of the women were underestimating (or under reporting) the amount they drank. In general, fetal alcohol syndrome occurred less frequently than expected in this study, suggesting that it is either not recognized by medical staff or only becomes apparent after the mother and baby have left the hospital.
10% of the pregnant women drank a moderate amount of alcohol (6-20 units a week). These women were more likely to smoke, be in work and to have private health care compared to those who never drank. Only 2 in 1000 admitted to being heavy drinkers (greater than 20 units per week). These women were most likely to be young and to have used illegal drugs.
The moderate and heavy drinkers were often first time mums (not surprisingly, unplanned pregnancy was associated with heavy drinking). Heavy drinking was also related to very premature birth, and hence all the problems premature babies have including the increased risk of disease as an adult. However, there was no difference in occurrence of congenital or other birth defects regardless of the amount of alcohol drunk.
Prof Murphy said, "This study emphasizes the need for improved detection of alcohol misuse in pregnancy and for early intervention in order to minimize the risks to the developing fetus. We would recommend that further research is required before even low amounts of alcohol can be considered safe."
Notes to Editors1. Prevalence, predictors and perinatal outcomes of peri-conceptional alcohol exposure - retrospective cohort study in an urban obstetric population in Ireland
Article citation and URL available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of publication.
2. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is an Open Access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth.
3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.
Dr. Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy