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Story Updated: Feb 26, 2013
Can a mother's battle with alcohol have deadly consequences for her youngest children? A new Australian study offers some sobering facts on the matter.
Using medical records from 1983 to 2005, the researchers identified nearly 22-thousand mothers diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder. Another 56-thousand mothers without a drinking problem were pulled for comparison.
There were a total of 303 cases of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS 171 in the alcohol-exposed and 132 in the comparison group.
According to that data, more than 16-percent of SIDS cases were attributable to maternal alcohol use disorder. The highest proportion occurred when the diagnosis was recorded during pregnancy or within 1-year post pregnancy.
The deaths, according to the researchers, occurred through direct effects on the fetus and indirectly through environmental risk factors.
They say these results provide evidence that maternal alcohol use disorder is, potentially, a modifiable risk factor for SIDS.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.