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Despite risks, many pregnant women still drink

A woman's torso with her hands above and below her pregnant belly.

May 21, 2019—About 1 in 9 women in the U.S. drinks alcohol while pregnant. And about 4% binge drink, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's slightly up from previous years.

Researchers defined current drinking as having at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days. They defined binge drinking as having four or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days.

Unmarried pregnant women were more likely than married ones both to drink alcohol and to binge drink. This may be because of greater stress or less personal support, the researchers said.

Read the full report.

Clear dangers

Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), including fetal alcohol syndrome. Children born with FASDs may have a range of problems, including birth defects and developmental disabilities that can last a lifetime. In one recent study of four U.S. communities, FASDs affected 1% to 5% of first graders.

Drinking may also raise the risk of:

  • Miscarriage.
  • Stillbirth.
  • Preterm birth.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome.

Alcohol can cause problems throughout pregnancy. And there's no known safe amount at any time. That's why doctors caution all pregnant women not to drink.

Learn more about fetal alcohol syndrome.

You're not in this alone

For help quitting, talk with your doctor or call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline at 800.662.HELP (800.662.4357).

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