The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report on Monday stating that any amount of alcohol should be considered dangerous for consumption during pregnancy. It identifies alcohol as the “leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities in children.”
Although your doctor might suggest that one beer is alright, the AAP argues that it’s not. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term for how a child could be affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol, and could lead to lifelong neurocognitive and behavioral problems. It can have dire effects on the fetus’ brain, heart, bones, spine, kidneys, vision, and/or hearing, and has been linked to higher rates of ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities.
Dr. Janet Williams, one of the lead authors of the report, says that FASDs are difficult to recognize even though they’re the most commonly identified causes of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. Unfortunately, catching it early on and beginning therapy as soon as possible are the best ways to improve your child’s health, though he will always live with the disorder.
8% of women admitted to consuming alcohol during pregnancy. According to the AAP report, drinking during the first trimester multiplied the odds of delivering an FASD-affected child by 12; drinking during the first and second trimester increased odds by a factor of 61; and drinking during all three boosted the odds 65 times higher than an expecting mother who consumed no alcohol whatsoever while pregnant.