Ten percent of pregnant women in the United States drink alcohol during their pregnancies, and three percent admit to "binge" drinking four or more drinks at a time, a new study found.
"It's very discouraging. It's higher than I think any of us would have expected," Dr. Maura Quinlan, an assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told HealthDay
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study
looked at data from 2011 to 2013 and found pregnant women reported binge drinking more frequently than women who weren't pregnant.
"One possible explanation for this might be that women who binge drink during pregnancy are more likely to be alcohol-dependent than the average female binge drinker, and therefore binge drink more frequently," the study said.
Cheryl Tan, an epidemiologist and lead author of the study, told HealthDay that drinking alcohol while pregnant increases miscarriage risks, premature delivery, and stillbirth. In addition, babies may get fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which causes multiple problems, including learning disabilities.
"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," Tan told HealthDay. "All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer and liquor."
The study also found that women over 35 and those with college degrees were more likely to drink during pregnancy.
said the percentage of women who said they drink during pregnancy may not be accurate, as many are unwilling to admit to behavior they know is bad for the baby. In addition, oftentimes women don't know they're pregnant until later than four weeks, so some may drink during the first trimester.
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