Pregnant Women and Drinking: 1 in 13 Consume Alcohol, CDC Says

The issue of drinking while pregnant is a persistent one in the realm of public health — and while American doctors tend to take a more conservative stance than their European counterparts, drinking during pregnancy is still not an uncommon issue.

Experts in the US say that there is no known safe level of alcohol a pregnant woman can consume — so despite a general belief that very moderate drinking can be safe, doctors often advise total abstention, as no safe level can be determined.

Ultimately, it will always be difficult to state an exact safe level of alcohol tolerance for a woman while expecting. Variables such as alcohol metabolism, weight and varying measures of alcohol would make following such a recommendation tricky at best, and the risks — mostly concerning Fetal Alcohol Syndrome — are grave.

Still, pregnant women often drink. Some will consume a glass of wine every so often or even every night, but overall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that despite dire warnings posted up in every establishment with a liquor license across the US, one in 13 pregnant women continues to drink while knocked up — and binge drinking is still seen in the population of pregnant women reporting for the data.

14,000 women were surveyed to compile the data on drinking in pregnant women. Among the one in 13 who drink while pregnant (and were honest about their alcohol consumption in the survey), an alarming one in five admitted to “binge drinking” while pregnant. (For the purposes of the survey, “binge drinking” was defined as more than four drinks in one sitting.)

The CDC reports that while the numbers were somewhat alarming, binge drinking in pregnancy has been down slightly since the last time such a survey was conducted. The public health agency also reported that mothers between the ages of 35 and 44 were the “biggest drinkers” while pregnant.