Prenatal Nutrient Could Protect Babies if Moms DrinkHannah Tennant-Moore
According to the CDC, the number of women who drink during pregnancy has not changed substantially since 1991, despite aggressive health campaigns about the adverse affects of alcohol on fetuses. So researchers are hoping they may be able to protect babies from Mom’s drinking with prenatal treatments, rather than solely through prevention.
Right now, fetal alcohol syndrome can only be treated through rigorous behavioral and educational therapies once the exposed children are preschool age or older. And since 12 percent of pregnant American women (and higher percentages of women in other countries) drink despite doctors’ warnings to the contrary, researchers hope that some of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome could be prevented by administering a learning-related nutrient called choline to pregnant women and newborns.
Preliminary studies with pregnant rats have been encouraging, and researchers are now testing their theory on pregnant Ukrainian women who have admitted to drinking while pregnant. (All of the women in the study will undergo alcohol counseling.)
But even if choline proves effective as a partial deterrent to fetal alcohol syndrome, doctors warn that no single medication could protect babies from all of the potentially adverse affects of alcohol.
What do you think? Is such a preventative medication a commonsense way to protect babies, or could it endanger babies even more by giving drinking moms false reassurance?