It's common knowledge at this point that drinking alcohol while pregnant carries major risks to your baby. But there's still a startling number of pregnant women in the United States who are drinking anyway.
According to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.2 percent of pregnant women between ages 18 and 44 said they drank alcohol within the last 30 days. And 3.1 percent of pregnant women admitted to binge drinking, which is defined as drinking four or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting.
Women from age 35 to 44 were the most likely to drink, and college grads were twice as likely as non-grads to imbibe. And binge drinkers were more likely to do so more often, drinking 4.6 times in a month, compared to only three times a month for all women, even those who aren't pregnant. This may be because women who binge drink while pregnant have more addiction issues.
Researchers used data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which surveyed more than 200,000 women from all 50 states from 2011 to 2013. Though the data show that most pregnant women are abstaining from alcohol, the study still shows that many women are putting their children at risk of serious health problems, which include birth defects and disabilities, plus an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
"Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should be aware that there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy," said Cheryl Tan, lead author of the study, in a statement. "All types of alcohol should be avoided, including red or white wine, beer and liquor."