The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more that 10 percent of pregnant women – ages 18 and older – in the United States, admitted they drank alcohol over the past month.
What is more concerning is that one third or those pregnant women said that they indulged in binge drinking, which means that they consumed more than four alcoholic drinks in one sitting, the new study suggests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to complications such as miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth, and can also affect the development of the baby and cause birth defects.
Cheryl Tan, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities stated that: “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.”
Between 2011 and 2013, the researchers conducted a study in which they surveyed approximately 8,300 pregnant women – ages 18 to 44 – from the United States. The researchers asked the women about how much alcohol they had consumed in the previous month.
The results showed that about three percent of all the women reported binge drinking. Pregnant women who had college degrees consumed twice as much alcohol that those who did not have college degrees. It is possible that the women with college degrees have more money to spend on whatever they want, or that they are part of groups where alcohol drinking is more socially acceptable, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated.
Another study that was conducted on non-pregnant women, found that 18 percent of the women reported binge drinking. Although more non-pregnant women indulged in binge drinking, women who were pregnant reported 4.6 episodes of binge drinking over the past month, as opposed to only 3.1 episodes reported by non-pregnant women.
In order to lower the rates of excessive drinking, the alcohol taxes should be increased and the places where alcohol is sold should be reduced, experts say. Doctors may also provide counselling to those who are drinking too much alcohol especially during pregnancy.
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