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Long Piece On Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Easy Steps to a Safer Pregnancy - View e-book or Download PDF - FREE!
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy

These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.

[Written by a non-professional lurking on the list.]

I am perplexed by the response to my post on alcohol use during pregnancy. My post stated that alcohol use during pregnancy is dangerous, can cause brain damage (to the child) and that pregnant women should refrain from using alcohol. Admittedly my post did have an emotional tone that stems from family experience with fetal alcohol syndrome. Since then I have been accused of spreading misinformation and had my credibility attacked by people who do not know me. I have also been told that I must site my sources including the exact passages, something that those responding to me failed to do. I do not wish to fight with those that responded to me. I have the utmost respect for them and their experience. However it is important that correct information is made available to the list. I am sending quotes from some of my sources followed by bibliographic sites in apa format. Please note that I am referring to the general use of alcohol during pregnancy. Not the use of alcohol in specific doctor or midwife recommended situations such as prodromal labor.

"Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most common preventable cause of birth defects in the United States...Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most common cause of mental retardation in the United States...Alcohol exposure during the first trimester leads to the most severe cases of fetal alcohol syndrome. Even moderate drinking can have harmful effects, ranging from fetal loss to intrauterine growth retardation...Small amounts of alcohol may cause neurologic abnormalities, even in the absence of growth retardation, dysmorphic features and congenital abnormalities. Thus it is important to counsel pregnant patients to follow the Surgeon General's warning to abstain from alcohol use during pregnancy."(Bratton, 1995)

"Complete abstinence during pregnancy is recommended, since alcohol consumption in each trimester has been associated with abnormalities, and the lowest innocuous dose of alcohol is not known...Fetal alcohol syndrome now surpasses Down syndrome and spina bifida as the leading cause of mental retardation in the United States today...All women should be warned not to drink during pregnancy."(Lewis, Woods, 1994)

"Alcohol interferes with normal pregnancy; the effects on the fetus are permanent; and even moderate use of alcohol during pregnancy may cause long-term postnatal difficulties...Since there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, women who plan to become pregnant should stop consuming alcohol at least three months before they plan to conceive."(Wong, 1995)

"There is no established "safe dose" of alcohol for pregnant women...The consumption of at least one to two drinks a day was associated with a substantially increased risk of giving birth to a growth retarded baby...Since there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the Academy recommends abstinence from alcohol for women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy."(Committee on Substance Abuse, 1993)

"This study showed that moderate to heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy, at levels well below those associated with fetal alcohol syndrome, has effects on children's psychomotor development...Interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption among pregnant women should not focus only on alcoholic mothers, because even lower levels of alcohol consumption can put the child at risk."(Larroque, et al., 1995)

"It is now recognized that alcohol consumed in pregnancy can damage the fetus, but the critical dose and time are still not known. Not only the regular drinkers, but also the woman who drinks infrequently with the occasional binge may put her fetus at risk at a very early stage. For this reason, women should be advised to reduce or discontinue alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy."(Bennett, Brown, 1990)

I hope this information is useful. I think you will find that it supports my statements. This is by no means an exhaustive list of research on this subject. I encourage anyone to read the complete articles that I have sited. They are very interesting and go into much more depth that I can do here. In addition there is a significant amount of info about FAS/FAE on the web. If others have info that contradicts these sites I would be interested in seeing it, as this is a subject that I try to keep up to date on. For me the bottom line is this, unless you know exactly what the fetus is doing at the time that you take a drink, you have no way of knowing what the effect will be. Why play Russian roulette with your baby's life?

Bennett, V., R., Brown, L., K. (1990). Myles Textbook for Midwives. New York. Churchill Livingstone

Bratton, R., L. (1995, November). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: How you can prevent it. Postgraduate Medicine, pp.197-200

Committee on Substance Abuse (1993, May). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects. Pediatrics, pp.1004-1006

Larroque, B., Kaminski, M., Dehaene, P., Subtil, D., Delfosse, M., Querleu, D. (1995, December). Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Psychomotor Development at Preschool Age. American Journal of Public Health, pp.1654-1661

Lewis, D. D., Woods, S. E. (1994, October). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. American Family Physician, pp.1025-1032

Wong, D. L. (1995). Nursing Care in Infants and Children. New York. Mosby.

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This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Medications/Teratogens/Substance Abuse


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