Boozing It Up While Pregs: Older, More Educated Women Biggest Culprits

wine pregnantWe’re forever getting mixed messages about alcohol and pregnancy, though the general consensus still seems to be don’t do it. Or do it, but in moderation. That means no post-work patio sessions where you accidentally drink five vodka sodas in a span of two hours. It sounds like common sense but, sadly, many women out there are boozing it up while pregs. In fact, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that as many as 1 in 13 pregnant women drink alcohol.

Now before we go freaking out and condemning these women to hell, know that most are probably just enjoying a glass of wine with dinner. (Just so you know, the majority of Mommyish readers alone (55%) indulged in the odd glass of wine or beer while pregnant, while 33% didn’t touch a single drop.) What is scary, however, is that 1.4% of pregnant women surveyed by CDC described themselves as “binge drinkers,” meaning they consumed four or more drinks at a time. (Could you imagine?)

What’s interesting is that older, more educated women are the most likely to drink. To put into perspective, around 14% of pregnant women ages 35 to 44 reported having at least one drink in the previous 30 days; that compares with just 4.5% for those ages 18 to 24. The same goes for education level: 10% of college-educated women reported having at least one drink in the previous 30 days compared with 5% for those with a high-school diploma or less.

Claire Marchetta, one of the study authors, said it could be they have more money to buy alcohol or that drinking is more socially acceptable for that group.

A separate study by Danish researchers, released last month, insists that low (one to five drinks per week) to moderate (five to eight drinks per week) alcohol consumption while pregnant will not harm your baby. (Nine or more drinks per week, however, led to an increased risk of attention problems.) But the CDC maintains that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and lifelong disabilities for a child; and in 2005, the surgeon general urged women who are pregnant (or those who might become pregnant) to abstain from alcohol use altogether.

For most women, however, it’s all about moderation. We don’t need studies of any kind to tell us that consuming high levels of alcohol while pregnant is a terrible idea; if you’re ready to have a baby, that should be common sense.

(Photo: altafulla/Shutterstock)

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