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AAP: Alcohol Leading Preventable Cause of Birth Defects, Disability

Alcohol-related developmental disabilities and birth defects preventable with alcohol abstinence

TUESDAY, Oct. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — No amount of alcohol should be considered safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy, according to a clinical report published online Oct. 19 in Pediatrics.

Janet F. Williams, M.D., and colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse developed evidence-based guidance relating to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

The authors note that when pregnant women abstain from alcohol use, alcohol-related birth defects and developmental disabilities are completely preventable. Prenatal alcohol exposure results in lifelong neurocognitive and behavioral problems. For any condition along the FASD continuum, early recognition, diagnosis, and therapy can result in improved outcomes. During pregnancy, no amount of alcohol intake is safe; no trimester is safe for drinking alcohol; similar risks are seen with all types of alcohol, such as beer, wine, and liquor; and binge-drinking is associated with dose-related risk for the developing fetus.

“The pediatrician and the medical home as well as cooperative care with practitioners such as obstetricians and family medicine providers play important roles in the success of FASD prevention, intervention, and treatment modalities but also in the research progress needed to discover additional means to address the lifelong consequences of FASDs,” the authors write.

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