Het drinken van een kleine hoeveelheid alcohol tijdens de zwangerschap kan van invloed zijn op de hersenontwikkeling van een kind, aldus onderzoekseptember 28, 2020
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The first few weeks after you find out you’re pregnant can be exciting but stressful. Making changes to your lifestyle with your child in mind can be tough. And the NHS writes that there’s no definitive answer from experts on how much, if any, alcohol is completely safe for you to have while pregnant. Many air on the side of safety and recommend not drinking at all or having a small drink very rarely. However, a study conducted at the University of Sydney has found that even low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy may impact a child’s brain development and is associated with psychological and behavioral problems like anxiety, poor attention span and depression.
Researchers observed the psychological, behavioral, neural and cognitive differences of 9,719 children between the ages of nine and ten. They defined low alcohol consumption as one to two drinks per occasion with a maximum of six drinks per week. 25% of the children had been exposed to alcohol in the womb with 60% being exposed to lower levels and 40% higher.
Their findings were published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and they concluded that children who were exposed to low levels of alcohol in the womb experienced more psychological and behavioral problems. They said there was a 25% increased likelihood of the child being diagnosed with ADHD if they’d been exposed to higher levels of alcohol during the first seven weeks of pregnancy.
“Our research found that even small amounts of alcohol consumed while pregnant can have a significant impact on a child’s brain development,” said lead author Ms. Briana Lees, Ph.D. candidate at the Matilda Centre, “previous research has shown that very heavy alcohol use, such as binge drinking, during pregnancy can cause harm to the baby. However, this study shows that any alcohol use during pregnancy, even low levels, is associated with subtle, yet significant behavioral and psychological effects in children including anxiety, depression and poor attention.”
It’s estimated that most people find out they’re pregnant five or six weeks after conception. It’s impossible to instill lifestyle changes and cut down on drinking if you don’t even know you’re pregnant. When you drink, the alcohol passes into your blood. If you’re pregnant this can be transferred to the placenta and to your baby. The liver is one of the last things to develop and fetuses can’t process alcohol well. Too much exposure can lead to poor growth and learning and behavioral problems.
Current guidelines suggest that if you are going to drink while pregnant you should limit it to one or two units of alcohol per week. This equates to a medium (175 ml) glass of wine which has about two units (depending on the wine.)
The study from the University of Sydney was released as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has proposed that people’s alcohol consumption while pregnant could be recorded on the child’s medical records in order to help diagnose and prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD.) It’s been met with backlash from pregnancy rights advocates.
While experts continue to debate how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, many clinicians air on the side of safety and recommend that expecting people should cut it out altogether. The study from the University of Sydney links low-level alcohol consumption to the brain development of the unborn child as well as behavioral problems down the line. In the weeks before you know you’re pregnant it’s impossible to monitor how much you drink. However, after you find out the studies senior author Professor Maree Teesson, Director of the Matilda Centre, said, “the safest option during pregnancy is to abstain from drinking any alcohol.”