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Are adopted children paying the price for their birth mothers binge drinking?

Posted Jun 29 2010 7:56am

The national charity Adoption UK warns that there is an urgent need to raise awareness about the effects on unborn babies of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
They point out that the neurological damage caused by binge drinking during pregnancy can lead to learning and social difficulties as a child matures. When this is compounded with the loss of being separated from the birth family and the trauma of any other abuse and neglect the majority of adopted children have experienced, it can make parenting an adopted child even harder.

Dr Robert Lefever comments on this and says: “The physical and mental effects of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome were well recognised forty years ago. This new research covers a wider range of damage. Previously we were aware of only the five percent of children with this condition who were most damaged by it. Now we are becoming more aware generally that repeated use of what are generally considered to be ‘small’ amounts of alcohol – just a publican’s measure of one or two glasses – can cause significant damage, especially to the brain and nerve tissue.”

Dr Lefever goes on to point out: “A pregnant woman carries a baby whose delicate tissues cannot tolerate any alcohol at all. Whatever the mother drinks, the developing baby drinks. It is therefore vital that pregnant women should be aware of the long-term significant risks to their babies when they have ‘just a drink or two’ with their friends. This isn’t fun at all for their babies: it would be terrifying if they were able to express it.”

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