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article imageAlcohol-exposed pregnancy remains a risk in U.S.

By Tim Sandle     Feb 8, 2016 in Health
Washington - Despite numerous warnings, many women in the U.S. consume alcohol while they are pregnant. New figures, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), place the number of women at risk as 3 million.
The U.S. health agency has found over 3 million expectant mothers, aged between 15 and 44 years of age, are placing an undue risk to their unborn child due to the level of alcohol they consume. This represents over 7 percent of the female population.
Much of this arises due to women not using birth control, drinking alcohol and being sexually active. If, under these circumstances, a woman unknowingly becomes pregnant and continues drinking, then the level of risk rises. In a related situation, women who are trying to become pregnant and who stop using birth control often carry on drinking until the point when they realize they are pregnant.
Recently conducted research indicates exposure to alcohol during the first few weeks of pregnancy can cause lasting damage to a baby. The risks are physiological, mental and behavioral problems for the infant. These are all types of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
The CDC advice to women is to stop drinking immediately in discovering that you are pregnant and if you are actively trying for a baby, then not to drink at all. The Agency notes there is no "safe level" of alcohol.
In relation to this, CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat is quoted as saying: “Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant. About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking. The risk is real. Why take the chance?”
The information from the CDC comes as a new campaign is launched across the U.S. to better educate mothers about the risks of drinking alcohol and pregnancy. Information is aimed at both women and healthcare providers.
More about Pregnancy, Alcohol, Drinking, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
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