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February 13, 2018 06:14 PM

Drinking While Pregnant

Drinking alcohol during a pregnancy can put your baby at a high risk of developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Now a new study says the rate children are impacted may be higher than previously thought. 

From 2010 to 2016, more than 6,500 first-graders were surveyed, including students right here in KELOLAND.
"Sioux Falls was really the vanguard site in the United States for this study.  We had complete participation in every elementary school in the city," senior clinical investigator Gene Hoyme said. 

Hoyme says any child under the 25th percentile in height or weight or who had a small head circumference was able to participate. 

"Kids had a physical exam by an expert like myself, looking for features of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and then they all had psychological testing," Hoyme said. 

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders occur in children whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. 

Older data estimated 10 per 1,000 children had the disorder, but during this study, 222 children were identified with having FASDs. Only two were previously diagnosed. 

"The damage can be done so early in pregnancy that it can happen before you've missed your first menstrual period," Hoyme said. 

The bottom line about consuming alcohol when you're pregnant or trying to conceive is don't do it.

Hoyme says whether the drinking occurred because you were unaware of the pregnancy or on purpose due to addiction, telling your physician is the first step to protecting your child's life. 

"The earlier that this is diagnosed and the earlier that you can work with them the better the outcome," Hoyme said.

Children with FASDs generally have a normal IQ but deal with learning disabilities, bad judgement and ADHD that follows them through adulthood. 

For more information on the study, click here. 

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