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Alcohol use during pregnancy leads to greater risk of extreme preterm delivery

on why the effects of alcohol on prematurity were more pronounced among women aged 30 years and older, Sokol said he and other researchers have seen what appears to be a greater susceptibility to neurobehavioral effects and anatomic congenital anomalies in pregnancies among older women. "This is an important finding," he said, "because a woman could have been drinking during pregnancy when she was younger and had no effects, but could be more susceptible later."

Given that the patient population was 92 percent African American, added Sokol, the results will need to be confirmed elsewhere, using similar methodology. "The baseline risk for preterm delivery is higher among African Americans than whites in the United states," he said. "There are known ethnicity effects for prenatal alcohol exposure, so studying pregnancies among whites would be sensible, yet if I had to guess, I think we would see changes in the same direction."

The bottom line, said Sokol, is that there is a substantial risk of extreme preterm delivery that is associated with alcohol use during pregnancy. "It would be best for women to just not drink during pregnancy," he said.


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24-May-2007


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