Australian Birth Defects Society

A Society devoted to the study of birth defects


Quick round-up of new related items that have appeared in newspapers and magazines.

Page updated 12 July 2016

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Caution urged for pregnant women using paracetamol

SMH August 16, 2016

This article reported a study which linked paracetamol use with behavioural problems in children. Fortunately this rather alarmist article was criticised by interviews noting “95% of mums who took paracetamol during pregnancy had a child with no problems at seven years of age” and others who noted that the women may have been using paracetamol during pregnancy had an ellness that affected their children.

There is an excellent rebuttal in

The Conversation

Women who load up on candy and burgers during pregnancy ‘more likely to have a child with ADHD’

Daily Mail 19 August 2016

The data derives from a prospective study in 1991-1992  of 160 pregnant women. Dietary questionnaires were completed at 32 weeks gestation and then 3-7 years of age. ADHD symptoms were assessed at 7, 10 and 13 years. DNA methylation data was collected from cord blood. Using a highly complex statistical analysis they were able to show youth with ADHD symptoms were more likely to have higher DNA methylation of IGF2. However at the same time they found no significant correlation between exposure to an ‘unhealthy diet’ and ADHD symptoms.

Pregnancy no-alcohol advice gets lost on medics

The West Australian on September 29, 2016

A recent review of doctors and midwives revealed that 10% of GPs and 3% of midwives believed that “an occasional glass of wine is fine” on special occasions or celebrations. 

CDC defends advice to women on drinking and pregnancy.

New York Times Feb 5, 2016

The CDC have defended a recommendation that sexually active women refrain from drinking alcohol if they are not using birth control. This was in response to the recognition that about half of all pregnancies are unplanned and most women do not know they are pregnancy until 6 weeks into pregnancy.

Have you got OCD? Why your mother could be to blame: Smoking during pregnancy and Caesarean births 'may put babies at greater risk

Daily Mail Australia 6 October 2016

An increased risk of OCD was found for smoking >10 cigarettes/day during pregnancy (OR 1.02-1.58). However it was unreported that risk was greater for breech presentation OR 1.35 or an Apgar distress score at 5 minutes (OR 1.5)

Men who smoke are THREE times more likely to have children with asthma

Daily Mail Australia 5 October 2016

Using complex statistical analyses the authors showed an association with an OR of 1.17-6.13. There was no link with mothers smoking unless it was the paternal grandmother (OR 1.0-1.6)