Fear of a spike in babies born with alcohol damage, because coronavirus locking causes a huge increase in drinking
- Coronavirus binge drinking can increase alcohol damage in babies
- Australians were found to drink 70 percent more during home isolation
- Health experts urged women to curb their alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of pregnancy
- Here’s how you can help people affected by Covid-19
Women are urged to curb their alcohol consumption due to fears that this could lead to a spike in alcohol damage in babies conceived during the coronavirus pandemic.
A study by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education recently found that Australians drank 70 percent more during isolation.
Professor Elizabeth Elliott of the University of Sydney said that, coupled with the increased time partners spent together, meant an increased risk of pregnancy and alcohol damage.
Health experts warned of an increase in drinking while the coronavirus lock might see a spike in babies born with alcohol damage. Pictured: a woman stocking up on alcohol in Sydney
Prof Elliott said it was a myth that only high drinking speeds could cause problems, such as fetal alcohol syndrome.
Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause neurodevelopmental problems in children that can affect their ability to think, learn, attract attention, and control their behavior and emotions.
“You can’t predict the risk in an individual pregnancy because everyone has different genes to metabolize alcohol,” she said.
Prof Elliott said that new research showed that the environment in the uterus can be affected by drinking right from conception.
“FASD is the end point, but there are many drawbacks that can happen in between,” she said, including cerebral palsy, increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, language, and academic problems.
“The safest advice is to avoid alcohol when planning a pregnancy or while pregnant.”
Australians drink 70 percent more while isolating themselves at home. Pictured: Buyers making panic purchases at a bottle shop in Sydney in late March
Louise Gray, CEO of NOFASD, said that in Australia people are largely believed to know the risks, so doctors have often not addressed the problem in patients.
But since nearly 50 percent of Australian women became pregnant unexpectedly and about 60 percent reported drinking alcohol while expecting, Ms. Gray said more awareness was needed.
“We don’t know what alcohol level causes FASD,” she said.
“If Australian women and families were well informed, no one would want to risk it.”
Ms Gray and Prof. Elliott also said that many people were unaware of the size of one standard drink.
“Mixer drinks can contain up to three or four units of alcohol,” said Professor Elliott.
“You only need three or four and you’ve had a big binge.”
The number of current cases of coronavirus in Australia as of Friday, May 1