Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Developing Immune System

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Developing Immune System

Author: Theresa W. Gauthier, M.D.

Most Americans are aware that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can injure the developing fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), with their developmental, cognitive, and behavioral consequences, probably are the best known dangers (Bakoyiannis et al. 2014; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2009). However, drinking during pregnancy also can disrupt other areas of fetal development besides the brain, including the developing immune system. Studies in humans and animals suggest that alcohol does, in fact, affect the developing immune system and leads to increased risk of infection and disease in infants exposed to alcohol in utero.

Alcohol’s effect on the developing immune system is apparent in infants born at term gestation, with studies showing that these babies are at increased risk of infection when exposed to alcohol in utero. However, premature infants are…

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We’re Hiring!

The NW FASD Network is looking for a Diagnostic Clinic Coordinator:

Job Overview 

Reporting to the FASD Network Coordinator, you work both independently and together with the Network Coordinator to develop relationships with key stakeholders involved in the delivery of FASD Assessment and Diagnostic Services. You will facilitate the development and training of multi-disciplinary team(s) for the purpose of providing FASD Assessment and Diagnostic services. You will provide coordination of the team including all necessary responsibilities related to the assessment and diagnostic process. This includes performing client’s intakes and coordinating client assessments with the clinic team.


Key Outcomes for this position include:

-Operation of Assessment Clinics within 3 areas of the Region (North, Central and South)

-Diagnostic and Assessment teams Identified for all 3 region areas. As well as determining the need for diagnostics throughout the region

-Ensures and establishes standards of diagnosis are met (Canadian Guidelines)

-Create an appropriate system of referral, (contact with clients on the wait list and follow up supports for Clients and Family Members)

-Build community Partnerships for Diagnostic clinics

For more information about the position and to apply please visit: https://jobs.cityofgp.com/en/js/viewjob.php?submit=Search&custompage=1&jobID=827


Binge drinking by young women raises future health risks

binge-drinking-alcohol-bar-tequila Reports suggest the percentage of young women binge drinking is approaching nearly one in four Canadian women between 20 and 34. (Vitalii Tiagunov/Shutterstock)

Episodes of heavy alcohol use could increase susceptibility to stroke, cancer

By Janet Davison, CBC NewsPosted: Aug 10, 2015 5:00 AM ET

Maddy Huggins would binge drink as a teenager and black out, just like other kids at her high school in Kelowna, B.C.

When she went backpacking during her gap year, there were more alcoholic overloads and “really risky” moments when something bad could have transpired.

“Nothing too terrible happened, but there was the potential for that,” says Huggins, 22, who’s just about to start fourth year at the University of Saskatchewan.

As she settled into university, however, Huggins did some serious thinking about alcohol in her life.

“It was just a gradual progression where I was like, ‘OK, enough of this.'”

These days, Huggins knows…

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Is there a baby in your future? Plan for it.

Is there a baby in your future? Plan for it.

You plan for school, work, holidays and even your retirement. What about your baby? Parenting begins long
before your baby is conceived. Babies begin to develop even before women know they are pregnant. This
means that the time to prepare for your baby’s health is before you even get pregnant. There are things that both men and women can do to improve the health of their future children.

A baby can change your life. But are you ready? Making decisions about pregnancy can be challenging. Whether you are alone or with a partner, this workbook will serve as a guide to one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

We used to think that saving some money, exercise and healthy eating were all we needed to do to get ready to start a family. These choices do make a big difference but there is more. This workbook will discuss some of the other things that can affect men…

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What Baby’s 1st Dirty Diaper Can Reveal About Their IQ

Aug 4, 2015 01:41 PM By Lizette Borreli @lizcelineb Retrieved from: http://www.medicaldaily.com/marker-first-dirty-diaper-can-predict-cognitive-development-issues-fetal-alcohol-346046


Many pregnant women struggle with the question: to drink or not to drink? Typically, expectant mothers abstain from drinking alcohol to prevent endangering the baby’s health, but others do imbibe and are reluctant to reveal how much they consumed during pregnancy because of the stigma — hence prenatal alcohol exposure being missed. However, a baby’s first dirty diaper can reveal alcohol exposure in utero and long-term cognitive development issues, according to a recent study published in the The Journal of Pediatrics.

To investigate, researchers from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University studied whether fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) — a group of products from metabolizing alcohol — found in meconium (a newborn’s first stool) can predict alcohol use during pregnancy and whether the baby is at risk for problems with intelligence and reasoning. The…

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One Alberta3835970261_HAPPY_BEER_answer_103_xlarge blogger is taking up the challenge of going alcohol-free for the next 30 days in the hopes of not only tracking changes in her mind, body, and soul but answering the question, “Why do I drink so much?”.

Interesting in being part of the challenge or tracking her experiences? Check out:


Read her first post:

Who doesn’t like booze?

I know I do…greatly – follow my progress through this next 30 days of being alcohol free. Maybe you want to try it along with me and post what your experiences are in the comments..up for the challenge!?!?

Do you know what a standard drink looks like? Do you usually pour yourself a glass of wine and notice that a quarter of the bottle is in your glass?

One Standard Drink equals:

  • 341 ml (12 oz) bottle of 5% alcohol beer, cider or cooler
  • 43 ml (1.5 oz)…

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Is it reasonable to expect your partner to give up drinking in pregnancy?

Writer: Jo Hartley

From the moment that I fell pregnant with my son, I realised just how much my life had already started to change.

portrait-of-happy-pregnant-woman-with-man-lying-in-bed-1In growing a little human, I became super aware of the right and wrong foods to eat, was conscious about getting enough rest, and was extra vigilant about staying away from alcohol.

But I am not going to lie. That last sacrifice was really difficult.

In the first few months I didn’t really feel like drinking, so that was easy enough. But after the queasiness passed, I missed my regular wine, and being at a party with an orange juice in hand wore thin pretty quick.

What also didn’t help was that my husband continued to drink regularly. In fact, if anything, he often drank more, as now he had an inbuilt designated driver for all social events.

I found it really frustrating and actually…

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Alcohol During Pregnancy: Is Complete Avoidance Necessary?

No Alcohol during Pregnancy

The FASD Prevention Conversation Project advocates that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume when pregnant or planning a pregnancy. The article below is not endorsed by the project, but does highlight why conversations about alcohol and pregnancy are needed and why these conversations can be difficult.

Alcohol use by pregnant women is regarded as teratogenic, and women are counseled to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. The American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee Opinion on At-Risk Drinking and Alcohol Dependence states unequivocally that obstetricians should give “compelling and clear advice to avoid alcohol use, provide assistance for achieving abstinence, or provide effective contraception to women who require help.”1

Despite these strong statements, the degree of teratogenicity of alcohol remains somewhat controversial, and opinions have evolved over time. For centuries, it has been known that alcohol can harm a fetus.2 For example, abnormalities in babies born to…

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