Alcohol Binges Early in Pregnancy Increase Risk of Infant Oral Clefts
Oral clefts are birth defects that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth. They occur in about two of every one-thousand live births.
Balintfy: Oral clefts are birth defects that affect the upper lip and the roof of the mouth. They occur in about two of every one-thousand live births.
DeRoo: There are two major infant oral cleft types.
Balintfy: Dr. Lisa DeRoo is a Staff Scientist, in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. DeRoo: Cleft lip with or without cleft palate, or cleft palate alone.
Balintfy: The causes of clefts are largely unknown, but a new study finds that women who binge drink early in their pregnancy increase the likelihood that their babies will be born with oral clefts.
DeRoo: These findings reinforce the fact that women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy; and prenatal exposure to alcohol, especially excessive amounts at one time, can adversely affect the fetus and may increase the risk of infant cleft.
Balintfy: Dr. DeRoo explains that an alcohol binge is drinking five or more drinks in one sitting. She adds that women who consumed this much alcohol were more than twice as likely than non-drinkers to have an infant with oral clefts.
DeRoo: Furthermore, women who drank at this level on three or more occasions during their first trimester were three times as likely to have infants born with oral clefts.Balintfy: Oral clefts happen when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth and upper lip don't join before birth. The problem can range from a small notch in the lip to a groove that runs into the roof of the mouth and nose. Treatment usually is surgery to close the lip and palate. For more on this study, visit www.niehs.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.