02 December 2016

CDC: Pregnant Women Should Not Drink Alchohol

CDC Advisory
A Center for Disease (CDC) study revealed that "more than 3 million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy."

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is "associated with a range of complications and poor reproductive outcomes and can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which are characterized by lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities," the CDC report said, adding that exposure to alcohol in the womb is one of the leading preventable causes of intellectual disability in children.

It can also "increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," the CDC said.

The team analyzed data from the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth and found that three in four women who wanted to get pregnant as soon as possible reported they continued to drink alcohol.

"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," said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the CDC.

CDC recommends that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol at all. FASDs do not occur if a developing baby is not exposed to alcohol before birth.

Women can:
  • Talk with their health care provider about their plans for pregnancy, their alcohol use, and ways to prevent pregnancy if they are not planning to get pregnant.
  • Stop drinking alcohol if they are trying to get pregnant or could get pregnant.
  • Ask their partner, family, and friends to support their choice not to drink during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant.
  • Ask their health care provider or another trusted person about resources for help if they cannot stop drinking on their own.
Doctors, nurses, or other health professionals can help prevent alcohol use during pregnancy in 5 ways:
  1. Provide alcohol screening and brief counseling to all women.
  2. Recommend birth control to women who are having sex (if appropriate), not planning to get pregnant, and drinking alcohol.
  3. Advise women who are trying to get pregnant to stop drinking alcohol.
  4. Refer for additional services for women who cannot stop drinking on their own.
  5. Follow up yearly or more often, as needed.