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Posts tagged ‘alcohol’

Alcohol and Pregnancy

A study of women who attended the Coombe Women’s Hospitalii found that almost two-thirds (63%) of the 43,318 women surveyed said they drank alcohol during their pregnancy. Below is an article taken from Alcohol Action Ireland. (more…)

Cot deaths linked to co-sleeping

According to an article published in the Irish Times today, more than half of cot deaths happen when a baby is sleeping with a parent, a study revealed today.

Researchers said this could be linked to the baby’s parent having been drinking or taking drugs.

Despite a dramatic drop in the rate of cot death in the UK since the early 1990s, experts are advising parents to avoid dangerous co-sleeping arrangements in order to help reduce these deaths even further.

A team of researchers at the Bristol and Warwick universities studied all unexpected infant deaths — aged from birth to two years old — in the south west of England from January 2003 to December 2006.

To investigate a possible link between cot death and socio-economic deprivation, they compared these deaths with a control group at ‘high risk’ — young, socially deprived mothers who smoked — as well as a randomly selected control group.

The parents were interviewed shortly after the death and information was collected on alcohol and drug use.

A detailed investigation of the scene and circumstances of death was also conducted by trained professionals.

Of the 80 cot deaths analysed, more than half (54 per cent) occurred while co-sleeping compared to one-fifth (20 per cent) co-sleeping rate among both control groups.

Much of this risk may be explained by the combination of parental alcohol or drug use prior to co-sleeping (31 per cent compared with 3 per cent random controls), and the high proportion of co-sleeping deaths on a sofa (17 per cent compared with 1 per cent random controls), say the authors.

A fifth of cot death infants were found with a pillow and a quarter were swaddled, suggesting potentially new risk factors emerging.

The researchers said some of the safety messages were getting across to parents and may have contributed to the continued fall in the cot death rate.

However, the majority of the co-sleeping deaths occurred in a hazardous sleeping environment.

The safest place for an infant to sleep is in a cot beside the parental bed in the first six months of life, the study published on said.

The term sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was introduced in 1969 as a recognised category of natural death that carried no implication of blame for bereaved parents.

Since then, a lot has been learnt about risk factors, and parents are now advised to reduce the risk of death by placing infants on their back to sleep, placing infants in the ‘feet to foot’ position at the bottom of the cot, and

keeping infants in a smoke-free environment.

But it is not clear which risk messages have been taken on board in different social or cultural groups, and little is known about the emergence of new or previously unrecognised risk factors.

Lead author Prof Peter Fleming, Professor of Infant Health and Development Physiology at Bristol University, said: “We have been able to look at the conditions that make sharing a bed or sofa with a parent hazardous.

“People understand the implications of drinking and driving and the vast majority follow that advice.

“So we want parents — if they’ve had a drink or taken drugs — not to co-sleep with their baby.”

Prof Fleming said many parents got up in the middle of the night to feed their baby on a sofa or armchair — believing it was safer than feeding them in bed, however, the opposite was true.

“It is really important that parents should not fall asleep with their baby on a sofa as it is very, very dangerous,” he said.

“It is 25 times more risky than having a baby in bed with you.

“After parents have fed a baby it is really important they put them back in their cot.”


17/40 – Who’s that Girl?

pregnant_iconI am worried about the girl on the wine bottles… Have you seen her? It’s not a very clear picture – you can’t see her face – but she is clearly pregnant, and she is not supposed to drink wine. Or beer, or gin (just checked my bottle of Gordon’s). At all. People must be very concerned that she doesn’t realise she can’t have it; ordinarily you’d expect an adult woman to be able to make the decision herself, rather than needing a picture on a bottle to remind her and everyone around her. So the effect it has on her must be fairly awful, poor thing, because there is no picture or mention of children, or people with health problems, or people taking strong drugs which mean they can’t drink – just her. 

But, as I said, her picture isn’t very clear. So you may have ordinary pregnant women, most of whom don’t drink very much at all when pregnant, but who have an occasional glass of wine – which they look forward to and enjoy very much (even if it does give them atrocious heartburn)- feeling like they can’t have it any more, or even have people shouting at them when they do have it (as people are known to do when they see a pregnant woman smoke). And they’ll feel this way even though there is no medical evidence to suggest that the occasional glass of wine causes the slightest bit of a problem.

There is no denying that drinking significant amounts when pregnant is dangerous – it can have terrible and permanent effects on your unborn child. But, and I may be missing something vital here, but I can’t see this picture stopping the tiny percentage of women who do drink to dangerous levels when they are expecting a baby.

Surely this picture of the pregnant girl can’t be directed at all pregnant women? Surely we’re not at a stage where all pregnant women are being treated as mentally deficient, unable to control their impulses to binge drink…. Surely we’re not going that way, are we?

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