Study: Drinking During Pregnancy can Increase Chances of Alcoholism in Multiple Generations

alcclinexpScientists have discovered yet another powerful reason why mothers should not consume alcohol while they are pregnant. In addition to potentially causing birth defects, learning disabilities and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, babies who are introduced to alcohol while in the womb are more likely to have problems with alcohol in the future, according to new research.

The study, which appears in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that not only are those babies at greater risk for alcohol problems, but so is the next generation after them. While this is the first research study that explores this phenomenon, it does continue to illustrate the danger that alcohol poses to mother and the baby and to future generations.

“Our findings show that in the rat, when a mother consumes the equivalent of one glass of wine four times during the pregnancy, her offspring and grand-offspring, up to the third generation, show increased alcohol preference and less sensitivity to alcohol. Thus, the offspring are more likely to develop alcoholism. This paper is the first to demonstrate trans-generational effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on alcohol-related behavior in offspring,” commented Dr. Nicole Cameron, lead author of the study.

In order to conduct the study, researchers examined pregnant rats that were administered alcohol. After they gave birth the babies were examined, and then when the babies were old enough to have babies, those offspring were then tested for alcohol sensitivity as well. These rats also showed a tendency to want to consume alcohol compared with rats who were never exposed to it. Children who are born to mother’s that drink alcohol are being set up for a life that alcohol has the potential to be a real problem.

While there are mixed opinions on whether genetics or environmental factors have greater influence over future substance abuse, it is clear that people can be born with a low sensitivity. This information presents one more reason why women who are pregnant should abstain from alcohol completely.

About Blake Nichols

Blake Nichols is the Director of Operations at Desert Cove Recovery. Blake battled his own addiction to drugs and alcohol and was given the gift of recovery at the age of 23. Since 2008, Blake has dedicated his life and career to the field of addiction. He has experience in all aspects of addiction treatment including direct care, admissions, marketing, and administration.
Blake feels that the greatest reward of working in the recovery field is being part of the transformation that a person goes through from the time they arrive and begin treatment, through the hard work and the Miracle of recovery, and ultimately the change into a confident and capable person ready to carry the message of recovery.
"My career has focused on serving others. I have accepted ownership of my responsibilities as that is the key to working at the highest level of professionalism. I have worked to be positive and offer solution-based suggestions in my work and personal life."