New Dangers of Alcohol during Pregnancy
Women who consume even a small amount of alcohol when carrying a child, risk not only that child’s health -- they may be dooming the next three generations to higher risk of alcoholism.
That dire conclusion is the result of a study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Researchers gave pregnant rats the equivalent of one glass of wine each day for four days -- mimicking the second trimester in humans. They then tested young offspring of both genders with a choice of water or alcohol consumption over two subsequent generations, to find out if rats whose mothers or grandmothers had consumed alcohol while pregnant were more likely to consume it themselves.
To measure alcoholic sensitivity, adolescent male rats received a high dose of alcohol, which rendered them unresponsive and drunk on their backs. The team measured how long it took the rats to recover their senses and get back on their four paws.
Results showed that rats whose mothers or grandmothers consumed the equivalent of one glass of wine four times during the pregnancy, were more likely to have a preference for alcohol themselves, and their sensitivity to alcohol was altered compared with those who had not been exposed.
The study authors believe this suggests that if a mother drinks even a small amount during pregnancy, there is an increased chance that her children and grandchildren will become alcoholic.
It’s estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of American women drink some alcohol during pregnancy.