A basic argument throughout this book that is alcohol abuse—defined as consumption of five or more drinks per drinking occasion, more than once a week—is responsible for all of the alcohol-related birth effects (ARBEs) currently associated with drinking during pregnancy. Although a single binge at this level during a pregnancy may produce some ARBEs, the more days a woman drinks at this level during her pregnancy, the greater the potential for causing cumulative damage to her unborn child. Consumption of lower levels of alcohol, which currently go by the name of “moderate,” “social,” or “occasional” drinking, may be found to be damaging in the future, but given all the research done to explore moderate drinking, such a possibility seems unlikely. Rather than exaggerating the dangers of “moderate” drinking, clinicians and researchers who work in this area should recognize that any harm to an unborn child from alcohol exposure is related to acute binge or chronic abusive drinking Although the number of drinks that make up a binge is certainly arbitrary, it is certain that that number, whatever it may be, will be much closer to five than one.
KeywordsAlcohol Exposure Sexual Victimization Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Unborn Child Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
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