Washington: A new research has suggested that women should avoid drinking alcohol before they try to get pregnant otherwise the baby may end up with intestinal birth defect.
Lead investigator Jean Goodman, division director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Loyola University Health System, said that a woman can conceive at any point in her cycle, so women should avoid alcohol well in advance of becoming pregnant.
Goodman advised women to take folic acid supplements starting three months prior to conception and this was an ideal time to refrain from alcohol as they are in the mindset of preparing their body for pregnancy.
Alcohol is associated with an increased risk for mental delays, cardiac anomalies and facial clefting in babies.
But, the latest study showed that alcohol is linked to gastroschisis, a birth defect of the baby's abdominal wall.
Researchers surveyed 36 women who gave birth to babies with gastroschisis and 76 women who did not have infants with this defect. They found an association between gastroschisis and alcohol use one month prior to conception and during the first trimester before women knew they were pregnant.
They also revealed that gastroschisis occurs in women of all ages, races and financial means.
Researchers found no link between gastroschisis and poor maternal nutrition or vasoactive stimulants such as tobacco or illicit drugs.
Gastroschisis is typically identified during an ultrasound. These pregnancies are monitored closely to ensure the unborn baby remains healthy.
Plans are made for a careful delivery and surgery for the infant at the time of birth. While the prognosis is good for these babies following surgery, the rising prevalence of gastroschisis is a global health concern.