According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, alcohol use during pregnancy causes problems with the baby’s brain as it develops.

The study looked at nearly 10,000 children between the ages of 9 and 10 years and was followed up a year later. Children whose mothers only drank small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy had behavioral and emotional problems, according to the study. Although not always severe, these problems included problems with paying attention, impulsiveness, depression, and anxiety.

No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes all types of alcohol. Alcohol consumption can also affect the pregnancy itself, leading to a possible miscarriage or stillbirth.

When a pregnant mother drinks, a child can be born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD encompasses a wide variety of disabilities that can affect a child’s appearance, behavior, or thinking. For example, a baby with FASD might have exceptionally small head or face irregularities. The child can get smaller or smaller than the average person. Some babies with FASD have difficulty sleeping or feeding.

A child with FASD may have difficulty learning due to memory, coordination, attention, or language problems, or problems with vision or hearing. Some have difficulty solving problems and making good decisions. Children with FASDs can even have heart, kidney, or bone problems.

The take away

If you are contemplating getting pregnant or you know you could get pregnant, do not drink. Drinking alcohol before you even know you are pregnant can affect your baby’s development.

If you need help to stop drinking, contact your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for treatment so that you stop drinking and monitor your pregnancy for any problems.

You can also contact the following agencies for help:

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