Ottawa (Agenzia Fides) - A study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada published the first-ever estimates of the proportion of women who drink during pregnancy.
According to data published in The Lancet Global Health, an estimated 10 per cent of women drink alcohol during pregnancy, and 119,000 children are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year .
The study, sent to Fides, reveals great differences between regions and Countries. In some Countries, more than 45 per cent of women consume alcohol during pregnancy. In Canada, which has clinical guidelines advising abstinence during pregnancy, an estimated 10 per cent of pregnant women still drink. Nearly 15 per 10,000 people around the world are estimated to have FAS. FAS is characterized by mental, behavioural and learning problems, as well as physical disabilities.
The five countries with the highest alcohol use in pregnancy were in Europe: Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belarus and Ireland.
As a region, Europe also had a 2.6 higher prevalence of FAS than the global average. The lowest levels of drinking and FAS were found for the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia regions, as there are high rates of alcohol abstinence in these regions.
Not every woman who drinks while pregnant will have a child with FAS. It is estimated that one in 67 mothers who drink during pregnancy will deliver a child with FAS. Although it is well established that alcohol can damage any organ or system in the developing fetus, particularly the brain, it is still not known exactly what makes a fetus most susceptible, in terms of the amount or frequency of alcohol use, or timing of drinking during pregnancy, there are other factors, such as the genetics, stress, smoking and nutrition that also contribute to the risk. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 16/01/2017)