Thousands of children with alcohol problems



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Already in the womb, thousands of children are confronted with the mother's alcohol consumption

Every year thousands of children with alcohol damage are born in Germany. Because the mothers could not do without an occasional glass of beer or wine during pregnancy, the children suffer the consequences of their lives. Due to the alcohol consumption of pregnant women, around 10,000 children per year are already developing serious physical and mental damage in the womb, reports the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) ahead of this year's day for the alcohol-impaired child next Friday.

Despite prevention and education, many mothers are inconsiderate. Doctors and health authorities regularly warn of the health risks for unborn children from alcohol consumption during pregnancy. However, many women are not impressed by this and, according to the BZgA, up to 15 percent of pregnant women consume a glass of wine, beer or schnapps at least once a month. The consequences for unborn children are sometimes fatal. Up to 10,000 newborns are born in Germany every year with the so-called fetal alcohol syndrome or its milder variant, the fetal alcohol effect, the BZgA in Cologne explained. Since even small amounts of alcohol can cause this damage, pregnant and lactating women should avoid alcohol altogether, warned the director of the BZgA, Elisabeth Pott.

Health consequences are often underestimated According to the Federal Center for Health Education, the risk of alcohol consumption for unborn children is often underestimated. According to Elisabeth Pott, women tend to “drink alcohol during pregnancy with increasing age and higher education”. Few of these women are aware of the consequences that alcohol consumption can have on their unborn children, the BZgA director continues. Via the placenta, the alcohol consumed enters the unborn child's bloodstream, which means that the unborn child quickly reaches the same alcohol level as the mother. However, since their organs are still developing, the children are less able to break down alcohol and there is a risk of alcohol-related physical malformations, damage to organs and the nervous system, warns the BZgA. The affected children are usually impaired in their mental and physical development throughout their lives. According to the BZgA, a complete waiver of alcohol is mandatory for pregnant women.

In order to make it easier for pregnant women to avoid alcohol, men should also exercise restraint during pregnancy, warned the BZgA director, Elisabeth Pott. She recommends the men to reduce their own alcohol consumption during their friend's pregnancy. This could also bring clear advantages for the future, since the drinking behavior of the child in later life largely depends on how parents deal with alcohol. The parents should always be aware of their role model function at this point and act accordingly, the expert warned. (fp)

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