Binge drinking still too high with pregnant women

Posted Oct 8, 2015 by Tim Sandle
A U.S. based report has shown that one in 10 women aged 18-44 years consumes alcohol during pregnancy. This carries with it a range of ill-health effects for the mother and baby.
File photo of a liquor store.
File photo of a liquor store.
David Shankbone
The figure of one in 10 women has been uncovered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This relates to women who are pregnant and who have drunk alcohol within a thirty day period. Beyond this, just over 3 percent report drinking regularly to the extent that the alcohol consumption is classed as binge drinking. Binge drinking is classed as having four or more alcohol drinks on one occasion.
A few, although sizeable number, of pregnant women have alcohol use disorder. This has a number of social and psychological factors, including:
Drinking large quantities over a long time period;
Feeling unable to cut down;
Where drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time;
When alcohol is strongly desired;
Continued usage results in someone not fulfilling their responsibilities;
When usage results in social problems;
Where usage results in health problems;
If usage results in risky situations;
When withdrawal occurs when stopping;
If and alcohol tolerance has occurred with prolonged use.
The risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant are well documented. Women who do so risk harming their babies in relation to various physical and behavioral problems. These are collectively referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Associated issues with the disorders include abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head, poor coordination, low intelligence, behavior problems, and problems with hearing or seeing.
Coupled with FASDs there are other alcohol and pregnancy-related problems. These include miscarriage, stillbirth, and prematurity.
In terms of what is a safe limit for alcohol consumption while pregnant, the CDC is clear: there isn’t one. Women who are pregnant should avoid drinking any alcohol. Due to the current figures, CDC is urging healthcare professionals to screen pregnant women and determine whether they are at risk. In addition, a renewed campaign of health education is recommended.