Center for Addiction and Mental Health researchers performed a Canadian study that shows 428 different medical conditions and diseases that can be co-occurring in individuals who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The study results were recently published in the medical journal The Lancet. Lead study paper author Dr. Lana Popova explained “We’ve systematically identified numerous disease conditions co-occurring with FASD, which underscores the fact that it isn’t safe to drink any amount or type of alcohol at any stage of pregnancy, despite the conflicting messages the public may hear.
Alcohol can affect any organ or system in the developing fetus.” FASD symptoms and severity depend on the amount of alcohol consumed, when the drug was used during pregnancy, and many other various factors that can include maternal stress and nutrition, genetic factors, and even environmental influences during pregnancy.
Problems range from digestive disorders to hearing loss
While most issues connected to FASD involved cognitive and behavioral disorders, other neurological issues and even digestive, heart, musculoskeletal and respiratory systems can be adversely affected. Notable were the facts that vision could be affected and hearing loss was over 100 times more likely to co-occur with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
The study on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and associated medical conditions and diseases involved data from 127 different studies previously performed on this subject. According to Dr. Popova “We can prevent these issues at many stages. Eliminating alcohol consumption during pregnancy or reducing it among alcohol-dependent women is extremely important. Newborns should be screened for prenatal alcohol exposure, especially among populations at high risk. And alerting clinicians to these co-occurring conditions should trigger questions about prenatal alcohol exposure. It is important that the public receive a consistent and clear message — if you want to have a healthy child, stay away from alcohol when you’re planning a pregnancy and throughout your whole pregnancy.”
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are not the only risks of drinking during pregnancy
The take away from this study adds to the conclusions of others studies that show just how sensitive the fetus is to even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy.