A new study is the first to show that binge drinking by expectant mothers can impair the mental health of their offspring. Researchers report that rat mothers who drank in a binge-like manner during pregnancy and lactation were more prone to depressive behaviours — and so were their offspring. Moreover, alcohol-triggered heritable changes in the mother made their offspring more vulnerable to mood disturbances and alcohol abuse as adolescents.
It is commonly assumed that alcohol is easily discontinued during pregnancy, as recommended by physicians. “But this is not always the case for habitual drinkers,” says Dr. Carla Cannizzaro, the lead author of the study. “Pregnant women might also think intermittent social drinking is less harmful than daily drinking.”
To examine the consequences of maternal drinking — either continuously or intermittently — Cannizzaro and co-workers at the Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy, used a rat model. In the study, pregnant and lactating female rats were given water that contained alcohol in a manner that mimicked habitual and binge drinking in women. At the end of the study period, the rat mothers and their offspring underwent a battery of tests to assess mood and behavior.
Click to read full report: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180425120225.htm