Pregnant Women Are Drinking More Than You'd Think

It's common knowledge that pregnancy and drinking don't mix. Besides the documented risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that can be caused by drinking during pregnancy, the medical establishment still isn't sure of the impact even a tiny bit of booze can have on a developing fetus. The CDC's official stance is that no amount of drinking is safe, and that there is no "safe" kind of alcohol, either. While every woman is entitled to figure out her views on the subject based upon the current research available, a recent study conducted by the CDC suggests that many expectant mothers are choosing to imbibe while pregnant, and it's not just one glass of wine, either.

Between 2011 and 2013, the CDC randomly surveyed 206,481 women between the ages of 18 and 44 about drinking and pregnancy. At the time, only 4 percent of the subjects (8,383 women) happened to be pregnant. Of those surveyed, one in 10 pregnant women reported drinking alcohol during the past 30 days, and one in 33 reported binge drinking.

For the purpose of the study, binge drinking was defined as having four or more drinks at a time. Interestingly, the one-third rate of binge drinking in pregnant women who consume alcohol is similar to the rate in non-pregnant women, suggesting that female binge drinkers aren't able to curb their intake despite pregnancy.

Of the pregnant women who reported binge drinking, alcohol use was twice as high among those with a college degree, and was 2.4 times as high for unmarried women. Although there is severe stigma attached to drinking heavily while pregnant, women who do so are more in need of counseling or intervention than judgement.

The CDC ended their report with suggested policy and education changes that might curb this problem. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act does offer multiple health insurance plans that do cover alcohol screening and brief interventions at no cost to the insured.

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