Photo: Hispanic Women Attempting to Assimilate into U.S. Culture Drinking More While Pregnant
According to recent study, while many Latinos fight to assimilate to U.S. culture while still retaining their own, Latinas have become more likely to drink while pregnant the more they attempt to assimilate.
Over the last year, a Chicago pediatrician conducted screenings throughout more than 100 cities across the U.S. He found that as pregnant Latinas assimilated to American culture they were the most likely to use substances that negatively affect their growing fetus, with alcohol being the most common substance.
The Houston Chronicle:
Pregnant Hispanic women in San Antonio had the second-highest drinking rate of 29 cities in the six states where women in that specific demographic were screened, Chasnoff said. Reno, Nev., ranked No. 1. The pool included more than 70,000 women.
Almost 400 pregnant women in San Antonio were screened, 70 percent of them Hispanic, and all clients of the Healthy Start program at the Metro health department. About 25 percent of all the women were using a substance that hurts the developing fetal brain - alcohol being the chief culprit.
Drinking while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, though children born to mothers who engaged in prenatal drinking have also been diagnosed with Down syndrome, various childhood cancers, and juvenile diabetes.
Children born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) generally have cognitive disabilities, distinctly malformed facial features, stunted or delayed growth, and a number of behavioral issues.
FAS is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the U.S.
To determine the reason assimilating Hispanic women in the U.S. drink while pregnant, Dr. Ira J. Chasnoff, who conducted the initial screenings, is launching a study in multiple states. His currently theory however, is that American culture has drinking as a part of most social interactions and mixing that with a diminished influence from their families has young Hispanic women drinking more than generations before them.