Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Co-Occurring Disorders
There is conflicting information provided by medical professionals on if it is safe to drink any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. A new Canadian study published in The Lancet, finds that drinking alcohol can affect any organ or system developing in the fetus. The study also identified 428 diseases that can co-occur with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD describes disabilities that occur due to alcohol exposure. The conditions affected almost every body system, causing developmental and cognitive problems as well as physical abnormalities.
Researchers on the study analyzed 33 different studies with 1,728 participants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which is the most severe form of FASD. Of those with FAS, 90 percent had co-occurring problems. These problems included hearing loss and communication disorders.
The study found that between six and fourteen percent of women drink during their pregnancy. Early screening and resources for those with FAS can make all the difference. There also needs to be a clear message to pregnant women about drinking during pregnancy and the effects it can have on both the mother and the baby.