Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking During Pregnancy Among Adults Aged 18-49 Years — United States, 2018-2020
Weekly / January 7, 2022 / 71(1);10-13
Lucas K. Gosdin, PhD1,2; Nicholas P. Deputy, PhD1; Shin Y. Kim, MPH1; Elizabeth P. Dang, MPH1; Clark H. Denny, PhD1 (View author affiliations)
What is already known about this topic?
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and might increase the risk for poor pregnancy and birth outcomes. There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
What is added by this report?
During 2018–2020, 13.5% of pregnant adults in the United States reported current drinking, and 5.2% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Those with no usual health care provider and those reporting frequent mental distress were more likely to consume alcohol.
What are the implications for public health practice?
High prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant adults requires integrated, evidence-based interventions to prevent alcohol-related harms and address factors associated with alcohol consumption.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy; drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and might increase the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth (1). The prevalence of drinking among pregnant women increased slightly during 2011–2018; however, more recent estimates are not yet reported (2). CDC estimated the prevalence of self-reported current drinking (at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days) and binge drinking (consuming four or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days) among pregnant adults aged 18–49 years, overall and by selected characteristics, using 2018–2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data. During 2018–2020, 13.5% of pregnant adults reported current drinking and 5.2% reported binge drinking: both measures were 2 percentage points higher than during 2015-2017. Pregnant adults with frequent mental distress were 2.3 and 3.4 times as likely to report current and binge drinking, respectively, compared with those without frequent mental distress. In addition, pregnant adults without a usual health care provider were 1.7 times as likely to report current drinking as were those with a current provider. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy continues to be a serious problem. Integration of mental health services into clinical care and improving access to care might help address alcohol consumption and mental distress during pregnancy to prevent associated adverse outcomes (3).