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New Study Reveals More Problems With Drinking During Pregnancy

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A new study released this week reveals the hidden dangers of women who drink alcohol while pregnant.

Gigi Barnett explains why staying away from alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy is critical.

Drinking and pregnancy don't mix. A new study still supports that warning from doctors, but it discovered alcohol at the end of the first three months of pregnancy may be the most harmful for unborn babies.

"There's really no benefit from drinking while pregnant," said Dr. Beth Aronson.

Aronson is an obstretician at GBMC in Baltimore County. She says babies exposed to alcohol early in the pregnancy have a greater risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome, which leads to abnormal facial features and slow development.

"We have known for a long time that alcohol injures living tissue. It's just common sense that drinking is not something you want to expose young living tissues to," Aronson said.

The study is one of the first to examine how much a woman drinks, how often she drinks it and how far along she is in the pregnancy will affect her baby.

Aronson says once the damage is done, there's not much a mother can do.

"They should resolve that should they have another pregnancy that they will abstain from drinking. I think that's a good recommendation," Aronson said.

Not all pregnancies are planned. That means some women may not become aware that they are expecting until the middle or the end of the first three months, the time when alcohol can be the most damaging.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects about one percent of newborns in the country.

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