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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alcohol Warning Labels

Women are still drinking alcohol while pregnant despite the health concerns that doctors and scientists point out. Alcohol, like any other drug, alters the chemistry in one's brain, both temporarily and permanently. Introducing alcohol to a brain during the fetal stages of life has drastic effects on brain development, which are usually lifelong. The most common problem that develops when a women consumes alcohol during pregnancy is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; which could include a host of behavioral, mental, and physical problems. Knowing this, one has to wonder what would possess someone to drink during their pregnancy.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause or contribute to:

  • miscarriage
  • prematurity
  • illness
  • slow growth
  • development
  • still-birth

In the United States there are warning labels that explain all the possible risks of drinking alcohol, there is even information about possible birth defects from consuming alcohol while pregnant. Unfortunately, warning labels are not a requirement in every country, there are still western countries that do very little to inform people about the dangers of drinking alcohol. In Australia, one in three women are drinking while pregnant or breastfeeding according to new research released, this has people calling to renew health advisory labels on products containing alcohol.

"At the moment, there is more information on a carton of milk than a bottle of alcohol. People have the right to know what they are drinking and how it can impact their health and their baby's health, so that they can make more informed decisions about the drinks they purchase and consume," said John Rogerson, CEO Australian Drug Foundation. Education and prevention are the best defenses against alcohol related problems for mothers and children alike. It is easy to forget the potential dangers of alcohol if you are not exposed to it regularly, which could prompt some new mothers to think that it is OK - it's not!

"Health labels can play a role in influencing consumer behavior because they target people at that critical point of decision-making, in this case when they buy alcohol and when they drink it," said Mr Rogerson.

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