No safe time to drink while pregnant

Jan. 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM
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SAN DIEGO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they have found new links between the timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and certain characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Researchers at the California Teratogen Information Service Pregnancy Health Information Line -- a state non-profit organization based at the University of California, San Diego -- used data from its toll-free service offering information about alcohol exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The study involved 992 California women who contacted the information line from 1978 to 2005 with questions about a wide variety of exposures and, after being counseled, agreed to participate in a follow-up study of their pregnancy outcome.

The results, published online ahead the April print edition of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found every pattern of higher prenatal alcohol consumption -- no matter the timing in pregnancy -- was associated with an increased risk of having an underweight infant or reduced birth length.

"For every one drink increase in the average number of drinks consumed daily, there was a 25 percent increased risk for smooth upper lip, a 22 percent increased risk for thin red portion of the upper lip border, a 12 percent increased risk for small head size," said lead author Haruna Sawada Feldman, postdoctoral student at UCSD.

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