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Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is risky


A new research study shows that children can develop neurological disorders as a result of their mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy, which should be tackled by primary care physicians, News OK reports.

Tatiana Balachova, an associate pediatrics professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and her fellow researchers conducted the study.

The team evaluated different methods, including questions that physicians could use to better understand alcohol consumption, especially among pregnant women. 

"We all sometimes feel that alcohol is something which most people drink, and alcohol is not illegal, and it's part of culture and is acceptable," Balachova said.

"Sometimes ... physicians will not ask about alcohol. They may ask about drugs. ... For fetal development and women who may become pregnant, this is something very serious to think about."

According to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 pregnant women reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, and one in 33 reported binge drinking, from the years 2011 to 2013.

Research has shown there is no known safe amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman should drink.

"And there is no safe time during pregnancy," Balachova said.

"We cannot say how much alcohol it would take to (cause) specific damage in a specific child because there are so many different variations in the world. It's genetics. It's maternal age. There are so many factors involved, but the main point is - there is no safe amount we can say, and there is no safe time."

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is risky for several fetal problems, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and other adverse birth outcomes.

Balachova said it's important for physicians to focus on helping, rather than embarrassing mothers.

"We should not stigmatize women because many of them really might not know," Balachova said. "We need to educate ... so they know it's important to stop drinking, and so they know they can stop drinking. This is important."

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