A closer look at data on more
than 61,000 expectant mothers reveals that drinking is common among women
during their peri-conceptional period and more attention needs to be paid in
educating young women about fetal
During the study, researchers
looked at the medical records of 61,241 expectant mothers between 2000 and
2007. They also had a look at the women's
self-reported alcohol consumption and rated it as "low", "moderate", or "high"
consumption was accounted as 5 or fewer drinks per week, moderate - 6 to 20
drinks per week, and high - 20 and more drinks per week. Researchers noticed
that 20% were non-drinkers, almost 70% came into the "low" category, nearly a
10% fell into the "moderate" category, and only 0.2% actually reported as
"high" consumers. Approximately 81% of the
mothers reported consuming alcohol around the time of conception.
Dr. Deirdre J
Murphy of Trinity College, Dublin,
author of the study, explained that the study did found
correlation between heavy drinking during or just after conception and
. What surprised the researchers most was a "non-spike"
in cases of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), leading them to speculate that FAS is
being under-reported in Ireland.
Researchers strongly believe that
health services need to do more in identifying women who are
drinking heavily in the early stages of their pregnancy.
In a concluding note, Professor Murphy said, "This
study emphasizes the need for improved detection of alcohol consumption during
pregnancy and for early intervention in order to minimize the risks to the
developing fetus. We would recommend that further research is required before
even low amounts of alcohol can be considered safe."