Most of us know drinking and pregnancy do not mix, but a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release has revealed the prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant women, and the results are shocking.
According to the release, One in 10 pregnant women in the United States ages 18 to 44 reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, and additionally, one third of those who reported drinking while pregnant said it was in the form of binge drinking (four or more drinks on one occasion).
Although there is a lack of research concerning the effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the typical recommendation is to abstain from alcohol while expecting.
“We know that alcohol use during pregnancy can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies, as well as an increased risk of other pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and prematurity,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “This is an important reminder that women should not drink any alcohol while pregnant. It’s just not worth the risk.”
Another surprising statistic in the release reveals that among women who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, pregnant women reported a significantly higher frequency of binge drinking than non-pregnant women.
The exact reason for this disparity is unknown, but a recent Australian study has shown that pregnant women are less likely to drink if their partner or spouse encouraged them to lessen or stop their drinking.
The CDC works to lower the number of expectant mothers drinking by tracking alcohol, screening and brief intervention programs, and education, but for now the numbers are what they are.
“Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy. All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer, and liquor,” said Cheryl Tan, M.P.H., lead author of the study and an epidemiologist in CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.