Consuming alcohol during pregnancy is detrimental to the unborn babies as it may cause them to suffer alcohol-related birth defects. A study has revealed that globally eight in 1,000 babies are born with such defects. The research published in JAMA Pediatrics journal said that when alcohol passes through the placenta to foetus, it damages it cells because the unborn cannot process alcohol.
The findings indicated that the U.K. is amongst the countries, where more children, as much as four times, are born with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) - a series of developmental problems caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb than the global average. They found high levels of FASD among people with autism, learning difficulties and growth disorders. Researchers, from the Canadian Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, suggested that the dangers of alcohol to be reinforced in sex education and screening a pregnant woman for alcohol can combat the problem. Study author Dr. Svetlana Popova said the issue should be a public health priority.
The results indicated that one in every 13 women, who drink during pregnancy, will have a child with FASD. The team analysed 24 studies from around the world and found that about 32 in every 1,000 Britons have FASD, compared to the global average of eight in 1,000. In contrast, the figure is 15 in 1,000 in the U.S., ten in France and 20 in Germany. South Africa has the highest proportion of people with FASD, with 111 in 1,000.
The other five worst countries are in Europe, including Croatia, with 53 in 1,000, Ireland, with 48, and Italy, with 45. It is caused when alcohol by the mother is passed through the placenta to the foetus and an unborn child cannot process alcohol, which damages its cells.
The devastating effects may continue to haunt the child for life-long. Its symptoms include growth retardation, cerebral palsy, brain and nerve problems, hearing and vision related issues along with problem in liver, kidneys and heart.
(With ANI inputs)