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Reproductive & Child Health News

Binge Drinking Early in Pregnancy Increases Baby's Risk for Cleft Palate
April 15, 1999

A new study suggests that binge drinking during the first trimester of pregnancy raises the risk of having a baby with a cleft palate or lip. Researchers at the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program in Emeryville, California, interviewed 1,460 mothers, half of whom had babies with cleft malformations, to collect data; mothers were asked to recall how much alcohol they consumed over a 4-month period beginning one month before conception to three months after conception. The study found that consumption of five or more alcoholic drinks per occasion, one or more times per week, raised the risk of these facial deformities to 3.4- to 4.6-times that of mothers who drank less or not at all. Authors note that women who consumed less than five drinks on one occasion once a week had no greater risk than women who drank no alcohol. The study is in The Journal of Pediatrics (1999;134:298-303).

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