Women, who drink alcohol during pregnancy, often put their children’s health at risk. In later years in life, these children are much likely to develop mental health problems including depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder.
A new study published in the journal “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: finds that drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of developing depression in children. This research is provided by the University of Bristol.
While past research has proposed that the drinking of alcohol during pregnancy causes many adverse outcomes and mental health problems in late adolescence.
Researchers from Bristol Medical School and the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, part of Bristol’s School of Psychological Science and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Integrative Epidemiology Unit investigated that whether the drinking of alcohol by mothers and their partners is related to depression at age 18.
The researchers analyzed the data of more than fourteen hundred pregnant mothers and found that the mothers who drink alcohol between eighteen and thirty-two weeks of the pregnancy have children who develop depression at the age of eighteen. This data has been taken from Bristol’s Children of the 90s also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) which is a longitudinal birth cohort that has followed pregnant mothers, their offsprings and their partners since 1990s.
Partners’ alcohol drinking was also examined which is probably not going to a direct biological impact on the developing fetus. This helped authors to analyze if associations were probably going to be causal, or because of shared confounding factors between parents.
The children whose mothers drink alcohol at eighteen weeks pregnant have a higher risk to develop depression at the age of 18 as compared to those children whose mothers didn’t drink alcohol during pregnancy. However, there was little proof of any relationship between offspring depression and partner drinking. This recommends the associations seen with maternal drinking might be causal instead of confounding by other factors.
A Senior Research Associate in Genetic Epidemiology and the study’s lead author from Bristol Medical School, Dr. Kayleigh Easey tells that it can be challenging to survey the causal impact of alcohol use during pregnancy and researchers must be careful while interpreting the results of alcohol sensitivity as a risk factor and traditional perspectives around low-level drinking.
Further tells that this study explains that the mother’s alcohol drinking in pregnancy at 18 weeks is the reason for depression in kids at the age of 18. What was truly fascinating here is that they investigated alcohol use in both mothers and their partners and didn’t find a comparable association. A large number of indirect factors that could clarify the maternal impacts are shared among mothers and their partners, despite this, only the associations for mothers drinking are found.
Also, this study explains the significance of considering partners’ behaviors as well as maternal behaviors, both to help distinguish the causal relationship and because these might be significant in their own right.
Government rules were updated four years before by the Department of Health for pregnant women that the most secure methodology is to keep away from alcohol consumption during their entire pregnancy. The light to moderate use of alcohol during pregnancy has little effect on the mental health of children but the updated rules reflect a precautionary approach.
This study suggests a maternal-specific association and support policies of abstinence during pregnancy. This information can help women to take precautionary measures and to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy for their children.