More and more U.S. children are born with neurological damage caused by alcohol exposure in their mothers’ wombs, new research shows.
The study which appeared in the medical journal JAMA suggests that the brain damage in newborns tied to their moms’ alcohol consumption during pregnancy affects more children than autism.
These kids can develop physical, mental, and behavioral issues later on.
The study involved more than 3,000 school-age children, with some of their moms agreeing to get candid on their alcohol intake during pregnancy. The study shows that up to 5% of U.S. children struggle with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which marks a fivefold increase from original estimates. In the U.S., 1.5% of kids learn they have autism every year.
Senior author Christina Chambers underlined that the alcohol issue is even more common than autism and “completely preventable”. Chambers is confident that children can get the help they need, and the problem can be prevented.
In-Utero Alcohol Exposure Tied to Brain Damage in Kids
The most serious FASD is the fetal alcohol syndrome. Affected children are born with smaller bodies and heads than their peers not exposed to alcohol. Their eyes are also smaller and upper lips thinner.
Some children are more fortunate and develop a neurodevelopmental disorder that involves neurological issues, but the rest of their bodiesremains intact. These kids’ moms consumed alcohol during pregnancy.
The extent of brain damage in a newborns is closely related to the amount of alcohol their mother consumed and the timing during pregnancy. Genetics also plays a major role, so symptoms are not the same in all kids.
Because of the fear of stigma, many mothers refuse to admit they consumed alcohol while carrying their babies. FASD in a newborn is a clear sign that their mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy and unknowingly hurt her baby.
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