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Exposure to alcohol while still in womb may affect motor skill in children after birth

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Published on : Jun 10, 2014

A review of some past studies has revealed that children diagnosed with a medical condition called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a variety of permanent birth defects caused in children due to mother’s consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, are at increased risks of having weak motor skills. 

The review concentrated on areas such as ball skills, coordination and balance in children and it was found that these problems were more serious in children subjected to alcohol while in womb.   

The results are biologically quite reasonable as alcohol is a teratogen, a substance that can damage developing brain cells, and the areas of brain that seem to get most affected by alcohol are the ones responsible for motor control. 

FASD encompasses a variety of physical disorders and one of the more serious ones, fetal alcohol syndrome – featuring growth problems and abnormal facial features, occurs in a frequency of nearly 0.2 and 1.5 in every 1000 births in the US. This is quite a big number, though exact figures are yet not known.  

The researchers reviewed studies with FASD affected children of age upto 18 year, with exposure to alcohol of moderate of high levels in the womb and mothers addicted to alcohol and compared them with children with non drinking mothers. 

The result of the review provided evidences supporting the assumption that frequency of impairment in gross motor skills is tripled in children with FASD or in the ones exposed to moderate to high levels of alcohol while in womb.  

Researchers say that nearly 10 drinks in a week is enough to expose a fetus with moderate to high levels of alcohol and that the safest option to avoid any such complications in children is to stay away from alcohol. 

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