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Mother's drinking tied to infant deaths: Study

Published on Feb 27, 2013 9:25 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - About one in six sudden infant deaths may be linked to heavy alcohol use by their mothers during or soon after pregnancy, according to an Australian study.

Researchers writing in Pediatrics found that those deaths may result from babies being exposed to alcohol in the womb and from alcohol-using mothers creating hazardous environments for the babies after birth.

"The results of this study indicate that maternal alcohol-use disorder increases the risk of SIDS and (infant deaths) through direct effects on the fetus and indirectly through environmental risk factors," wrote researchers led by Colleen O'Leary from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. SIDS refers to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines SIDS as the death of a child under one year old with no obvious cause. Approximately 4,500 infant deaths fall into this category every year in the United States, according to the CDC.

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