Baby poop study tracks alcohol use
Hospital researchers on P.E.I. have been collecting and studying human meconium – the first stool – of every newborn Islander.
They say those samples will reveal how many women in the province are drinking heavily during pregnancy.
Pediatrician Dr. Kathy Bigsby is one of the people leading the study.
"There are no needles involved, you don't have to cut anything; the babies just squirt it out into the diaper and we scoop it up into our specimen container. And from there the container goes into the deep freeze and we send them off to the MotherRisk Lab [in Toronto]," Bigsby said.
The study is anonymous and results cannot be linked back to the baby or mother.
Researchers did not require consent from the parents.
Bigsby received criticism in February 2010 for suggesting that women taking methadone be counselled not to become pregnant.
This is the first time an entire province has been sampled for such a study.
Researchers said the study will provide the first accurate data on the number of babies being affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on P.E.I.
The Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres funded the study.
Sample collection wraps up this week.