10% of Women Consume Alcohol While Pregnant Despite Risks

10% of Women Consume Alcohol While Pregnant Despite Risks
10% of Women Consume Alcohol While Pregnant Despite Risks

(HealthDay News) — Although drinking alcohol during pregnancy poses a risk to the unborn child, one in 10 pregnant women in the United States still consume alcohol, according to research published in the September 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Data from the CDC's ongoing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey revealed that 10.2% of pregnant women in the United States, aged 18–44, had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. The researchers also found that pregnant women engage in binge drinking more often than nonpregnant women – 4.6 episodes during the previous 30 days, vs. 3.1 episodes. Among pregnant women, alcohol use was highest among those aged 35–44 (18.6%), college graduates (13.0%) and unmarried women (12.9%), the investigators found.

The team also assessed drinking in women of childbearing years who aren't pregnant, and found that about half (53.6%) had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. About 18% of nonpregnant women reported binge drinking.

"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," lead author, Cheryl Tan, MPH, an epidemiologist in the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, told HealthDay. "All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer and liquor."

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