A team of researchers that includes the participation of the University of Granada (UGR) reveals that women who consume alcohol during pregnancy have a greater risk of giving birth to low-weight baby of for his gestational age.
Low birth weight is the main determinant of perinatal morbidity and mortality in the short and long terms, and a growing problem in today’s society, both in developing countries and most developed economies.
There are many factors that increase the risk of low weight, including those related to lifestyle. However, frequent habits linked to a negative social connotation, such as alcohol consumption or smoking, are not easily documented because pregnant women refuse to admit their exposure.
In this work, carried out in collaboration between the Universities of Jaén and Granada, under the umbrella of the Center of Biomedical Research in Network for Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), the team of scientists analyzed the association between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the risk of having a low birth weight.
Zero alcohol in pregnancy
Thus, they have compared the referred alcohol intake through two complementary tools: a self-administered food frequency questionnaire, in which alcohol consumption is included as one more item among a total of 137 foods and beverages, and a personal interview, with direct questions made by the midwives who attend the period of dilation and delivery.
The authors observed a lack of concordance between the information collected by both tools: “When we use the food frequency questionnaire, the results show that alcohol consumption increases the risk of having a newborn with low birth weight, whereas when the data is obtained from the direct interview, there is no association,” says Inmaculada Salcedo Bellido, a researcher at the department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the UGR and one of the authors of the study.
“Taking into account that alcohol directly crosses the placenta and any amount is a significant risk for malformations and developmental disorders (fetal alcohol syndrome), the fundamental advice for any pregnant woman or planning a pregnancy is not to drink alcohol at any time. There is not a safe amount of alcohol,” the authors conclude.