One in 13 pregnant women said they had drank alcohol within the previous month in a new study indicating that drinking while pregnant is still a considerable public health issue.
In the July 20 edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the results of a study by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities that honed in on rates of alcohol consumption among women expecting children.
It found that a considerable number of pregnant women drink, including:
– 14.3 percent of pregnant women who are 35 to 44
– 10 percent of pregnant women with a college degree or higher
– 9.6 percent of pregnant women who are employed
It also measured binge-drinking rates among pregnant women, where binge-drinking is defined as four or more drinks on one occasion in the previous 30 days.
Those rates were much lower than when any alcohol consumption was measured, but researchers still found that 1.5 percent of pregnant women ages 35 to 44 admitted to at least one binge-drinking session over the previous month, as did 1.8 percent of employed women and 2.1 percent of unmarried women.
More than one percent of all pregnant women reported binge-drinking, and researchers noted that women who binge-drink before conceiving are "more likely than non-binge drinkers to continue drinking" after becoming pregnant.
The CDC says there is "no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant," "no safe time during pregnancy to drink" and "no safe kind of alcohol." That's why it recommends that women completely abstain from drinking while pregnant.
The CDC also notes that women who drink while pregnant run the risk of a gamut of fetal alcohol disorders, including:
– Small head size
– Low body weight
– Poor coordination
– Hyperactive behavior/difficulty paying attention
– Learning disabilities/low IQ
– Speech and language disabilities
– Poor reasoning and judgment skills
– Problems with the heart, the kidneys, bones, vision or hearing
The CDC has more on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders here.
Photo by Don LaVange via Flickr Creative Commons.