Maternal health experts in the United States under the umbrella of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have said that alcohol consumption during pregnancy might increase the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage.
According to information released by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the gynaecologists warned that there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy;
The gynaecologists, in clinical information, published on the ACOG website cautioned that drinking alcohol during pregnancy could cause Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, FASD can happen when alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to her baby through the placenta, adding that sometimes this can result in mental and physical problems in the baby.
“Your baby cannot process alcohol well, which means it can stay in their body for a long time. Alcohol can damage their brain and body and stop them from developing normally in the womb,” NHS information noted
The gynaecologists affirmed that the high prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant adults requires integrated, evidence-based interventions to prevent alcohol-related harms and address factors associated with alcohol consumption.
The maternal health experts said, “Alcohol use during pregnancy remains a problem leading to foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a range of effects for a foetus that is exposed in utero, including physical problems, problems with behaviour and learning, or a combination.
“CDC research showed that about one in seven pregnant people reported drinking alcohol and about one in 20 reported binge drinking. It was also shown that those who experienced frequent mental distress and did not have a usual health care professional were more likely to report drinking alcohol.
“There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy; drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders and might increase the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth.”
They reiterated that alcohol consumption during pregnancy might increase the risk of poor pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Speaking further, the gynaecologists said alcohol consumption during pregnancy has continued to be a serious problem.
The maternal health experts said, “Integration of mental health services into clinical care and improving access to care might help address alcohol consumption and mental distress during pregnancy to prevent associated adverse outcomes.
“Universal screening for anxiety and depression along with perinatal depression prevention interventions are recommended for women and pregnant adults.
“Integration of mental health services has been proposed in the primary care setting and might be considered when addressing alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
“Alcohol consumption during pregnancy continues to be a serious problem. Addressing it requires clinical and community-wide interventions, such as alcohol screening and brief intervention and limiting alcohol sales.
“Improved access to care, including mental health services, might reduce prenatal alcohol use and prevent poor pregnancy and birth outcomes.”
The World Health Organisation says the effects of alcohol exposure on reproduction and child health are overwhelming.
According to the global health body, a high alcohol intake can affect the ability to conceive as well as bring about pregnancy complications and impaired foetal development.
“Alcohol can interfere with foetal development and cause a
range of disorders on a continuum of severity.
“The most severe outcomes of prenatal drinking are related to the frequency of heavy drinking and pattern of drinking, the most risky being binge drinking patterns.
“Timing of exposure also influences outcomes as certain stages of pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, involve crucial developments in the foetus.
“No amount of alcohol can therefore be considered safe during pregnancy,” WHO says.