One in ten pregnant women in the United States admit to occasionally drinking alcohol, one third of whom say they also binge drink, according to a new study.
The study, published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that from 2011 to 2013, one in ten pregnant women reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days and one in 33 reported binge drinking. Binge drinking was defined in this study as consuming four or more drinks on one occasion. About one third of the pregnant women who consumed alcohol reported binge drinking; a similar rate to non-pregnant women.
But of the women who reported binge drinking, those who were pregnant reported a higher frequency of doing so. The study suggests this may be because women who binge drink during pregnancy are more dependent on alcohol, and therefore will binge drink more.
Drinking during pregnancy can cause adverse health effects for the baby, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.
“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,” Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, told NBC. “This is an important reminder that women should not drink any alcohol while pregnant. It’s just not worth the risk.”
The study was based on a survey of more than 200,000 women taken from 2011 to 2013, more than 8,000 of whom were pregnant at the time.