Drinking While Pregnant Linked to Autism

Autism may be “triggered” by a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy, today’s Times notes. This topic has come up before: Back in November, it was reported that moderate drinking during pregnancy could be “the hidden cause” of autism, attention deficity hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and other neurodevelopmental disorders in children.

It’s not the cause for Charlie having autism, I can 100% assure you.

Make that 110% plus.

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    • http://therunman.blogspot.com jypsy

      Likewise, not where my own or my kid’s autism came from. Another 100% sure.

    • http://motherofshrek.blogspot.com/ Casdok

      Nor my son!

    • http://incipientturvy.blogspot.com M

      I’ll admit that I drank wine during my gerbil’s pregnancy. But it was really, really good wine.

    • brstpathdoc

      I’m drunk right now. Oh, wait, I guess the father doesn’t count.

    • Regan

      I know that I mentioned it before, but both my mother and my mother-in-law were MEDICALLY prescribed a daily beer during pregnancy in order to relax (MIL) and put on weight (my mom). Both those ladies, being of that post-war cocktail and cigarette era, were probably not unfamiliar with social drinking in general. Neither my husband nor I, nor our siblings have an ASD or MR related diagnosis.

      Given all the real issues with FAS and I am sure other, drinking during pregnancy is not a hot idea, but without more specifics, such as temporal window or a threshold quantity or some other combining factor, I am not sure that alcohol is the smoking gun that the doctor is making it out to be…or is he suggesting that some autism is some kind of mild FAS or…?

      I know enough women who not only did not drink during pregnancy, but don’t drink, period, who also have children diagnosed with autism to believe this is THE cause, hidden or not.

    • http://www.mumkeepingsane.blogspot.com Leanne

      FAS symptoms can be similar to autism in some ways. I’m also quite positive alcohol doesn’t cause autism.

    • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

      No drinks here, not for any of ‘em.

    • http://laurentius-rex.blogspot.com laurentius-rex

      Well my mum smoked during my pregnancy and ate potato crisps, you would not think an addiction to potato crisps is inheritable but in my case it seems that it was.

      There are many things that are not advisable, and that can lead to harm it just seems fashionable to put autism in the frame right now, and that is a sociological not a medical phenomenon.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD

      MIL had a few while expecting my husband…….

      Me: No alcohol, no coffee or anything caffeinated.

    • http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/ daedalus2u

      I agree with Leanne, FAS has some similarities to some aspects of autism, but alcohol is not the cause of autism. I would say that FAS can have “autism-like” symptoms, in the same way that mitochondrial disorders can have “autism-like” symptoms.

    • http://dkmnow.wordpress.com/ dkmnow

      If my older sister were Autistic … or if there had not been an extensive history of Autistic-style behavior in our notoriously tea-totaling family … then there might have been some such question about my mother. But as it is, the notion that my “Aspie-ism” might somehow be a consequence of alcohol consumption is beyond laughable.

      In any case, I’m willing to bet that certain autism-haters will suddenly display a newfound capacity for pointing out that we’re all just indulging anecdotal evidence. No real irony there, surely. After all, everyone knows that facts and arguments are only fallacious when someone else employs them — especially when that “someone” is one whose position “we” happen to find inconvenient.


    • http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/for-and-by-autistics/ larry

      Autism is associated with all sorts of things: difficult birth, infantile blindness, allergies to milk, neglect (per Dr. Stanley Greenspan), etc. If it is also associated with alcoholism during the mother’s pregnancy, that might validate Greenspan…

      Let us leave no stone unturned in searching for ways to prevent autism–including half-baked reductionist neurological theory.

    • http://stopthinkautism.blogspot.com/ S.L.

      I agree with those who have mentioned FAS. My autistic daughter also has a diagnosis of “static encephalopathy,” something associated most often with cerebral palsy and also FAS (neither of which she has!!). Under the symptoms of Static Encephalopathy, you’ll find PDD among other things. So, it’s possible a certain number of children with FAS also have autism, whether or not they’ve been properly diagnosed with FAS could be the real question. My friend’s adopted son has FAS and ADHD, those two also tend to go hand in hand.

      I can also guarantee 110% my daughter did not become autistic from alcohol. Oddly enough, with my first child, I was unaware of my pregnant status for much of my 1st trimester, and yes I drank. No autism for her. Also, if alcohol was the cause of a significant amount of autism, I’d imagine my generation would have seen the cases skyrocket. My mother smoked & drank through all of her pregnancies–often enjoying a drink and smoke with her OBGYN in his office. Wow, what a time.

      Besides–isn’t it fluoride that causes autism now? Sorry, it’s hard for me to keep up! ;)

    • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

      Soon, we’ll come back around to mothers who keep their beer in refrigerators as the cause of autism.

    • http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/for-and-by-autistics/ larry

      We will never, ever, learn squat about autism until we open our minds in defiance of decorum. What if autism is a form of craziness, just like OCD or anorexia-nervosa or schizoid personality disorder or reactive attachment disorder–or alcoholism???

    • http://www.autismschmatism.blogspot.com KC’sMommy

      In K.C.’s case I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol either. My goodness there they go blaming the Mother’s again!
      K.C.’s Autism is genetic, he didn’t suddenly have a period of “normalcy” and then turn Autistic. He was always Autistic.

    • http://laurentius-rex.blogspot.com laurentius-rex

      Seems I have nothing better to do than write on blogs all day and I suppose there is an idea here that ought to be elaborated on and maybe will be….

      But what I am observing with Autism is that the way it is “concieved” of, and the desire to find its causation rooted in the desire for elimination is driven by social trends.

      There are those who contend that Autism is an entirely modern late industrial phenomenon that only came into being during the second world war and the years preceeding it.

      Autism is equated by such people with a great evil and with fanaticism of the Amish decry every modern invention as the cause of it, from television, mobile phones, vaccination, drunkeness in women, and no doubt immodesty in dress (there will be a study blaming the bikini somewhere take my word on it) to what is in the water.

      This is social process, window dressing, and not revealing of anything about autism itself other than the fixation it has in the social minds of some people.

      To give a thing a name somehow seems to give it being, as if Unicorns can exist because we have named and described what they should be.

      That which we call Autism, like the poor has always been with us, but it is only because of changes and trends in society that it has been given a name, but think on this if Autism is the worst thing that can befall the child of an alcoholic mother, then the 18th century London of Hogarth’s “gin lane” must have been full of autism, before there was even a television set to distract the child into further depravity. No doubt Autism was as rife in 18th century London as it was in prechristian Babylon, because Autism has always been there. What is different is that it ought to be obvious that those other societies lacked the tools or language to describe it as this is a product of our modern times.

      I am sure alcohol is inadvisable for any pregnant woman, but not because autism is the worst or the only outcome I am sure.

      Autism has become a folk demon and that is the real story.

    • Lenora

      It’s just a report of a study, the actual study itself hasn’t come out yet. The lead researcher doesn’t want to cite any specific results until it does. Why, then is this guy even giving interviews about the study?

    • http://daisymayfattypants.blogspot.com Emily

      Pre-press publicity?

      Laurentius, well said. I think the emphasis on sociological or trend explanations is because as people, we always think we’re doing something new, not realizing that thousands have walked similar paths before us. There are so many, “If this causes autism, then…” statements that should shunt aside several proposed etiologies once and for all, but…they never seem to do so. The power of magical thinking over the human mind is so evolutionarily hardwired, we simply can’t resist it.

    • http://www.autismvox.com Kristina Chew, PhD


      me having my mind stuck on the ancient world: this is not perhaps the best comparison, but your comment makes me think about the fairly recent interest among ancient historians etc. about slaves. to find out about what their lives were like, you have to read between the lines so carefully, and not only in literature, in medical texts, in (especially revealing) legal texts that are dryer than any potato crisp. when one starts to think that there may have been as many as 5 slaves to one Roman citizen, there’s a sense (to me) of a huge vastness—how many lives that were “different” do we just not know about.

    • http://homepage.mac.com/dgstevenson/ Donna

      Since association is not the same as causation, I don’t understand why there isn’t more talk about the causation going in the other direction. Perhaps mild autism in the mother can lead to drinking alcohol to self-medicate. Maybe that was what larry was saying, but I’m too linear a thinker to be sure. :-)

    • http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/for-and-by-autistics/ larry

      What I was saying is this: Autism is associated with alcoholism. Alcoholism in mothers is a form of neglect. In other words, if the mother is an alcoholic she is prone to be neglectful. Therefore, if Greenspan is right, then this *might* be a validation of Greenspan.

      This knowledge is widespread among psychiatrists. They just call neglect induced autism “reactive attachment disorder” or “Institutionalism” to be polite. They don’t dare call it autism because mothers of autistic children will kick the doodoo out of their butts.

      Anyway, look at these studies:



    • J

      So why is it then that so many people do not see anything wrong with drinking while pregnant? Is it just not enough education, or plain stupidity? We all know that its not good for you and if you do it just because you want to then you shouldnt be pregnant. When your pregnant its not about what you want but what is best for the baby. Alcohol is not that.