Turns out that many women are drinking while pregnant, even though doing so can have a huge effect on the health of the baby. A recent report found that one in ten pregnant women, aged 18 to 44, reported drinking while pregnant. Worse, of those woman who drank, one-third reported binge drinking, meaning they drank four or more drinks in rapid succession.
Surprisingly, the rate of binge drinking is actually higher among pregnant women then it is among the general population. Researcher Cheryl Tan expressed surprise at this finding. This may be because women who binge drink during pregnancy may be addicted to alcohol. If so, they’re likely unable to stop drinking.
Older women were also more likely to drink. Among those women aged 35 to 44, 18.6 percent reported having consumed at least one drink in the past month. Further, college educated women were twice as likely to drink when compared to their peers who lacked a college degree. Also, non-married women were 4.6 times more likely to binge drink.
The consumption of alcohol during pregnancy has been linked with increased risks of birth defects, developmental disabilities, and other complications. Doctors highly recommend that women stop drinking while pregnant. Unfortunately, many women believe that the occasional drink will not harm their child, but any alcohol consumption at all can have a dramatic impact.
The researchers argue that the high rate of alcohol consumption should be a call for action among doctors, going as far as to suggest that pregnant women be screened for alcohol and warned of the consequences of their drinking.
The study was based on data collected from 8,333 pregnant women and 198,000 non-pregnant women from 2011 to 2013. Women from all fifty states, and the District of Columbia, were polled. Both land lines and cellphones were called.
Alcohol abuse is a major problem in the United States. Just over 56 percent of adult Americans report having at least one drink in the past month. While a few drinks here and there might not be bad, approximately one quarter of Americans over the the age of 18 reported having binged on alcohol in the past month.
Approximately 4.7 percent of adult women report suffering from a alcohol use disorder, while approximately 9.4 percent of men report the same.