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New Links Found Between Drinking During Pregnancy And Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Aired 1/18/12 on KPBS News.

UC San Diego researchers have identified the second half of the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy as an especially risky time to drink alcohol.

— UC San Diego researchers have discovered new links between drinking during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome. Their new study identifies a particularly sensitive time of a woman's pregnancy.

The research involved 992 women. Researchers noted the subjects' self-reported exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Later, their babies were examined for signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Researchers found drinking during the second half of the first trimester was highly associated with certain features of the disorder. These included reduced birth weight and smaller head size.

UC San Diego's Haruna Sawada Feldman said drinking alcohol during pregnancy is risky.

"Because we have not found any safe time for drinking. And we have not found a safe amount of drinking, either," Sawada Feldman pointed out.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and mental retardation.

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