Analysis of the newborn's first stool can help doctors to know whether the baby will struggle with persistent cognitive problems in the future or not, says a new study.
The research by Case Western Reserve University explained that high levels of Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEE) found in the meconium i.e. a newborn's first stool from a mother's alcohol use during pregnancy could alert doctors if a child was at risk for problems with intelligence and reasoning.
The researchers, who took Project Newborn, noted that there was a link between those with high levels of FAEE at birth and lower IQ scores. Meeyoung O. Min, PhD, lead researcher, said that they observed a connection between newborns' FAEE level and their cognitive development during childhood and adolescence that helped them to declare that FAEE can serve as a marker for fetal alcohol exposure and developmental issues ahead.
Min added that it's a known fact that a mother's alcohol use during her pregnancy may cause cognitive deficits, and now they have analyzed that establishing the predictive validity of FAEEs for determining alcohol exposure in utero can be really helpful.
The study described that newborns with distinctive fetal alcohol facial characteristics such as a smaller head and eyes, thin upper lip and a smooth ridge between upper lip and nose--were more easily identifiable, but many babies exposed to alcohol could still appear normal.
The researchers concluded that out of 60 percent of the 191 mothers reported drinking while pregnant, 63 percent engaged in risk drinking and 15 mothers had at least 12 drinks per week. The research is published in Journal of Pediatrics