Pregnant woman (illustrative) .
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should abstain completely from drinking alcohol, which is dangerous to the fetus, according to Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children's Medical Center.
The medical center this week marking World Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day. The day is marked every year on September 9.
Dr. Yehuda Sanetzky, director of the hospital’s clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, explained that alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances for the fetus developing in the womb; its consumption during pregnancy can cause irreversible damage to the fetus’s nervous system and various organs.
The amount of alcohol that passes through the woman’s placenta is exactly the same as the amount of alcohol that accumulates in the mother's blood. An especially high risk is drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short time.
Since it is not known how much alcohol is safe for drinking, the sweeping recommendation of leading health organizations including Schneider is for women to avoid drinking alcohol both during and during pregnancy planning.
In the Western world, exposure to alcohol during pregnancy is considered the most common neurodevelopmental injury -- and it can be completely prevented. A 2010 study at the Petah Tikva hospital found that more than 15% of pregnant Israeli women drink alcohol to one degree or another during pregnancy.
The hospital runs a unique and specialized clinic for diagnosing, monitoring and treating children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are characterized by developmental problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, emotional and behavioral problems, physical injuries to various organs and -- in severe cases -- fetal alcohol syndrome, which includes developmental and physical injuries. The clinic works in cooperation with and funded by the Israel Anti-Drug Authority.