Can't find something? Search Here.
Surprising as it seems, pregnant women don’t always do everything they can to ensure the health of their child. For some, not only are they continuing to drink alcohol while pregnant, they’re binge drinking as well. This has lead researchers to conclude that education efforts to prevent alcohol use during pregnancy have not been effective enough.
A study by University of Newcastle researchers surveyed over fifteen hundred Australian women about their drinking habits during pregnancy found that only 29 percent of the women surveyed said they cut back on drinking alcohol during pregnancy, and only 16 percent stopped drinking completely.
Over half the women who reported that they binge drink admitted to also binge drinking during pregnancy. Binge drinking is defined by the consumption of more than five alcoholic beverages in one setting.
These numbers are alarming when considering fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS can cause birth defects and both physical and mental deficiencies in infants. It also causes permanent central nervous system damage, especially to the brain.
Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s guidelines state that pregnant women should abstain from alcohol completely. They should also abstain if they are trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding. Those guidelines have been altered since 2009, and had previously stated that pregnant women should drink no more than two drinks per day and less than seven drinks per week during pregnancy.
Amy Anderson, a researcher who led the study, stated that the goal of the research was to bring attention to the fact that there is a need for more education about drinking for women prior to becoming pregnant.
Because studies about the effects of drinking while pregnant are largely inconclusive, health professionals urge women to abstain entirely.