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Pregnancy: Think Before You Drink

Pregnancy: Think Before You Drink

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of pregnant women say they’ve had some alcohol, and one out of every 33 admits to binge drinking in the past 30 days. That indulgence can cause terrible things to happen to a fetus—and your future child. What’s more, according to a lab study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the damage doesn’t stop there. It can be passed on through subsequent generations—to grandchildren and great grandchildren!

Besides triggering these behavioral problems and maybe fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety and impulse control problems, drinking while pregnant can make it more likely your offspring will have to contend with addiction.

Research scientists at the University at Buffalo Institute on Addictions found that prenatal exposure to alcohol triggers changes in reward systems of the brain—mostly affecting the brain’s own cannabis-like chemicals called endocannabinoids. Those changes persist and make an adult’s dopamine neurons more sensitive to an abused drug’s effect. That increases vulnerability to addiction.

So, don’t listen to reports that say a sip or two during pregnancy is okay. There’s no reason to ever risk your future generations’ health and happiness. Want to raise a glass? Stick with some bubbly apple juice!

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