Stats About Binge Drinking While Pregnant Surprise Researchers

CDC study finds 1 in 33 do so, multiple times a month
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2015 6:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – One in 10 pregnant women admit to imbibing alcohol and—even more worrisome for health officials—one in 33 admit to binge drinking in the past month, according to a report published by the CDC. "Any alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects and developmental disabilities," the study's author, Cheryl Tan, tells Reuters. According to the Los Angeles Times, pregnant college grads were more likely to drink than pregnant high-school dropouts, older pregnant women were more likely to drink than younger pregnant women, employed pregnant women were more likely to drink than unemployed pregnant women, and unmarried pregnant women were more likely to drink than married pregnant women.

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But it was the statistics about binge drinking—defined as having four or more drinks at one time—that most surprised researchers, Reuters reports. Those who do binge drink do so an average of 4.6 times a month, even more than non-pregnant women who binge drink (3.1). It's a dispiriting finding for US health officials hoping to end pregnant binge drinking by 2020, according to the Times. Tan tells Reuters she hopes the study can help combat "mixed messages" from the media on the safety of drinking while pregnant. "It's really important to remember that there is no safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy," she says. The data for the study comes from a national phone survey of more than 8,300 pregnant women. (Binge drinking is super bad for your immune system.)

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