January 23rd, 2012
Drinking and pregnancy don’t mix, but when are babies most vulnerable to the effects of alcohol?
The end of the first trimester appears to be the period when alcohol can wreak the most havoc on fetal development, causing physical deformities as well as behavioral and cognitive symptoms, according to research in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
According to the March of Dimes, about 1 in 12 women admit to drinking during pregnancy, and 1 in 30 say they binge-drink, or consume five or more drinks at one sitting. Exposure to alcohol in utero leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in about 40,000 newborns every year in the U.S. While adults can break down alcohol relatively safely, still-developing fetuses tend to keep more alcohol in their blood, which can hinder the development of brain and body.