by Abigail Mullen
On Feb. 6, a study on the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome was published in the journal JAMA. Previous studies with small sample sizes estimated that 10 per every 1000 children would be born with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. In this new study, 6639 first grade children from four regions of the U.S. participated and new estimates are as high as 98 per every 1000 children.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASDs, is an umbrella term for any condition that is a result of the mother drinking while pregnant. Alcohol travels in the mother’s blood to the fetus causing developmental problems, and fetal alcohol syndrome is one of the more severe conditions that fall in this catalog. While this one is talked about often, there are milder conditions: FASDs can cause a variety of ailments in varying severities. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, these include face abnormalities, facial impairments and neurological problems.
FASDs are completely avoidable if a mother does not drink while pregnant. However, one problem is that many women don’t know they are pregnant right away. According to the CDC, half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Drinking any amount of alcohol during any trimester can have an impact on the fetus.