Even Low Levels of Tobacco, Alcohol During Pregnancy Can Impact Infant’s Brain Development - Parenting


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Friday, May 15, 2020

Even Low Levels of Tobacco, Alcohol During Pregnancy Can Impact Infant’s Brain Development

Infant's brain development

Hello everyone!
Many pregnant ladies like to do smoke or drink even in pregnancy. Are you one of them?

If yes, be aware as it can be harmful at this stage of life for your infant's brain.Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful stages of life, OK, not for all but having your newborn for the first time in your arms must be the wonderful stage of life.
Actually, In a new study, researchers conclude that even low levels of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy can affect an infant’s brain development.

Research reports

The research builds upon past studies that have concluded that any alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy can lead to numerous health issues for young children.
Despite the research, experts say there’s still a belief among segments of the population that occasional alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy is OK.
Any exposure to alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy — even minimal amounts — can end up being unhealthy for a baby’s brain.

That’s according to a study published today by researchers from Columbia University in New York.
Our study is the first to find that any level of prenatal alcohol exposure, whether it be only in the first trimester, low continuous throughout pregnancy, or high continuous exposure, are all associated with changes in newborn brain activity, measured using EEG (electroencephalography),
said Lauren C. Shuffrey, PhD (a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University Medical Center and one of the study’s lead authors).
We are first to report effects from any level of prenatal tobacco exposure on brain activity in newborns,
Shuffrey told Healthline

These results are important since EEGs could be potentially used as an objective, noninvasive marker to examine associations with neuro-behavioral development of risk for developmental disorders at later ages.

Researchers studied 1,739 mother-newborn pairs from December 2011 until August 2015.

Participants were from South Africa and the Northern Plains region of the United States.

Children were born between 37 and 41 weeks of gestation, single births, and the mothers couldn’t use psychiatric medication during pregnancy.

The infants’ brain activity was measured during sleep.

What they were getting are these full-term babies who are otherwise healthy,
said Dr. Susan Walley, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
This is really a well-designed study, to say we see observable differences in babies with even low exposure to alcohol and tobacco.
EEG patterns in newborns have the power to predict development outcomes,
Walley told Healthline.

Numerous past studies have already determined that prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) during pregnancy can have consequences on a child’s health.

In today’s study, researchers noted that
PAE is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability, and smoking during pregnancy is one of the most modifiable causes of perinatal morbidity and mortality.
Infant's brain development

Researchers concluded that even a small amount of exposure can be damaging not long after birth.

There have been other studies using EEGs to measure associations between PAE and PTE, but those projects used smaller sample sizes and didn’t have as wide a scope as the most recent study.

In January 2020, a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology disputed other research that concluded small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy might be safe.

Researchers in this study analyzed 23 previously published studies and concluded using alcohol during pregnancy results in children with poorer cognitive function and increased risk of lower birth weight.

They also pointed out that the alcohol industry minimizes and routinely omits evidence concerning the risks of alcohol during pregnancy.

With alcohol, I think people still believe there’s potential for low-level use, These results show an objective sign of negative effects to brain development.
Walley said.

Walley said there’s a surprising lack of specific data when it comes to the need for total abstinence during pregnancy.

Plus, access to that data isn’t always forthcoming or available. And, if it is, there isn’t as much access to assistance.

In lower socioeconomic areas, there’s no access to smoking cessation methods, We know there are still pregnant women who are smoking.

The list of possible problems in infants whose mothers have used alcohol or tobacco is long, including decreased IQ scores and an auditory deficit leading to impaired verbal, memory, language, and auditory processing, said Dr. Rashmi Byakodi, a physician who’s also a health and wellness writer.

 Infants whose mothers consumed alcohol had lower global heart rate variability in active sleep.

Researchers are following up with participants of today’s study.

As Shuffrey said- This is important for two reasons:-
First, it lays the groundwork for EEGs to be potentially used as a marker of later development issues attributable to prenatal alcohol or tobacco exposure.

Secondly, although everyone knows alcohol and tobacco are bad when pregnant, 1 in 10 women drink during pregnancy in the U.S. and smoking is one of the leading causes of morbidity/mortality in mother-infant dyads.

There have been media reports that an occasional glass of wine, or even a drink per day, are OK during pregnancy, However, our data suggests that there is not a safe level to drink or smoke during pregnancy.
Infant's brain development

So ladies, pregnancy is a very special stage of life and you need to take proper care of yourself as well as of your infant for whole nine months period. Stay away from alcohol and tobacco to make sure that your infant's brain can be developed in a proper way, which is very important for his future.
You can contact me through contact form or comment box, whatever is suitable to you for any query or share this information with your family and friends if you like the content.

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