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.

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…
OBJECTIVE: This study examines the relationships between the dose, pattern, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure and achievement in reading, writing, spelling, and numeracy in children aged 8 to 9 years. METHODS: Data from a randomly selected, population-based birth cohort of infants born to non-Indigenous women in Western Australia between 1995 and 1997 (n = 4714) (Randomly Ascertained Sample of Children born in Australia's Largest State Study cohort) were linked to the Western Australian Midwives' Notification System and the Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment statewide education testing program. The records for 86% (n = 4056) of the cohort were successfully linked with education records when the children were aged 8 to 9 years. The associations between prenatal alcohol exposure…
Background: Descriptions of the effects of moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy on adverse pregnancy outcomes have been inconsistent. Objective: To review systematically and perform meta-analyses on the effect of maternal alcohol exposure on the risk of low birthweight, preterm birth and small for gestational age (SGA). Search strategy: Using Medical Subject Headings, a literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, CABS, WHOlist, SIGLE, ETOH, and Web of Science between 1 January 1980 and 1 August 2009 was performed followed by manual searches. Selection criteria Case-control or cohort studies were assessed for quality (STROBE), 36 available studies were included. Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers independently extracted the information on low birthweight, preterm birth and SGA using a standardised protocol. Meta-analyses on…
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