On May 20th Dr. Rich, Dr. Parnell and intern Sydnie Butin presented at the 168th APA Annual Meeting. Intern Lauren Grenier, Brian Philcox and Bonnie Buxton presented on the panel discussion. The Better Safe than Sorry presentation by Sydnie Butin included how this project got started. Our main focus is prevention, this disorder is 100% preventable. She discussed how high school drinking habits are the starting point of later college and adult life drinking habits. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and Young Risk Behavior Survey from 2011 show that 45% of 9th graders binge drink, 50% of 10th graders binge drink, 58% of 11th graders binge drink, and 62% of 12th graders binge drink. One binge drink is considered to be 4-5 drinks in one sitting. If this many people binge drink at such a young age, it is less likely for them to decrease or change their drinking habits, as they get older.
Girls have the belief that they can “keep up with the boys” when they drink but this is false. Women have half the alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes than men do. So the blood alcohol concentration gets much higher, much faster. Alcohol has a similar half-life in breast milk as it does in blood. Therefore it is not only necessary to stay away from alcohol during the preconception period and the pregnancy period, but women should also stay away from alcohol while they are breast-feeding. We believe that women should avoid alcohol altogether rather than trying to predict when the alcohol is going to be metabolized. Would you put alcohol in your baby’s bottle? No. There is no safe amount of alcohol for a baby, therefore women should stay away from it at all times during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation.
Excessive alcohol use can lead to impaired judgment, which can lead to unprotected sex and possible pregnancy. Keeping in mind the time difference between conception and pregnancy recognition, if you are one of those people who drinks to black out, your baby could get the full effect of the alcohol and receive irreversible brain damage.