Report: 'No amount of alcohol should be considered safe during pregnancy'

A clinical report just released from the American Academy of Pediatrics says "no amount of alcohol should be considered safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy."

The information is part of the "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders" report published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

The report says first-trimester drinking, compared to no drinking, results in 12 times the likelihood of giving birth to a child with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Drinking in the first and second trimester increased the odds to 61 times more likely, and drinking in all three trimesters increased the odds by 65 times, the report finds.

"Even though fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are the most commonly identifiable causes of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities, they remain significantly under-recognized," said Dr. Williams.

Here's an excerpt from the report:

Prenatal alcohol exposure is a frequent cause of structural or functional effects on the brain, heart, bones and spine, kidneys, vision and hearing. It's associated with a higher incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and specific learning disabilities such as difficulties with mathematics and language, visual-spatial functioning, impaired impulse control, information processing, memory skills, problem solving, abstract reasoning and auditory comprehension.

In surveys, about half of all childbearing age women in the United States report consuming alcohol within the past month, and nearly 8 percent of women said they continued to consume alcohol during pregnancy. A recent study found increased risk of infant growth retardation even when a pregnant woman's consumption was limited to 1 alcoholic drink per day (a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer).

According to a recent survey, about 8-percent of women said they continued consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

"The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely," said Dr. Williams.