Mother’s Drinking Increases Baby’s Risk of Death

Posted on April 10th, 2013
Posted in Alcohol Abuse

Ending a long day with a few drinks is a common occurrence for more than a few Americans. When that activity is an outlet for the pregnant woman, the risk she is creating for her unborn child can lead to many complications, including death.

A recent Medical Express report highlighted what happens when a pregnant woman engages in the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Whether drinking for pleasure or the result of an alcohol-use disorder, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and infant mortality not related to SIDS, increase.

To assess the risk, a team of researchers at the University of Western Australia relied on international data to identify women with an alcohol diagnosis and matched them with women without the diagnosis. (These women were matched by race, age and year of birth for their children.)

Researchers found there was a higher risk of SIDS when a maternal alcohol diagnosis was present or issued in the baby’s first year of life.

Babies of the mothers who were alcoholics while pregnant were about seven times more likely to die from SIDS than the babies of mothers without an alcohol-use disorder. These babies were also more than twice as likely to die from causes other than SIDS.

The babies of alcoholic mothers who died of non-SIDS causes often had multiple health issues. Nearly 40 percent had such conditions as prematurity, poor growth in the womb, slow growth and congenital heart disease.

Similarly, about 60 percent of the infants were exposed to such environmental dangers as cigarette smoke, dehydration, viral infections and neglect.

The study was published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For more about SIDS, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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