Binge drinking during pregnancy is ‘common’
Source: The Spirits Business
by Annie Hayes
8th July, 2015
Binge drinking during pregnancy is a “significant public health concern”, even though most women give up once they know they are pregnant, a new study reports.
The report, which is published in the journal BMJ Open, found that “substantial numbers” of women are ignoring alcohol consumption guidelines when they become pregnant.
Studies across the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand were analysed in the report, and the findings revealed that around 80% of more than 17,000 women consumed alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy – although its possible many of these were drinking before they knew they were pregnant.
In all countries, drinking was found to drop “dramatically” in the second trimester – where women are between three and six months pregnant.
Despite this, it was reported that alcohol exposure may occur in over 75% of pregnancies in the UK and Ireland.
The authors state: “The widespread consumption of even low levels of alcohol during pregnancy is a significant public health concern”.
In addition, the report found that having studied at a higher level of education, having other children, and being overweight were associated with a lower risk of drinking while pregnant.
However, being a smoker made it more likely that a woman would drink while pregnant.
Recently, the British Medical Association (BMA) shunned “confusing and inconsistent” advice given to pregnant women, instead warning expectant mothers they should not drink alcohol at all.