The CDC has women who like to drink in an uproar after they issued warnings about the lack of contraception and alcohol. In a report, the CDC warned that women should avoid alcohol unless they’re using contraception because of the high risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.
“About half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned and, even if planned, most women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy. This means a woman might be drinking and exposing her developing baby to alcohol without knowing it,” the agency said in a “Vital Signs” report released Tuesday.
“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,” the report stated.
A CDC report in 2015 found that one in 10 pregnant women in the United States reported drinking alcohol in the previous 30 days, and 3% reported binging — defined as four or more alcoholic drinks in two to three hours.
Some countries showed more alarming data: In a study published in the British Medical Journal, drinking rates were found to be as high as 80% during pregnancy in Ireland, and between 40% to 80% in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
The CDC warns there are no known safe limits of alcohol during pregnancy.
“Alcohol compromises a number of systems that support the baby,” said Philip May, research professor at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “(For example) nutrients like iron won’t reach the fetus for proper development,” he said.
May has been studying fetal alcohol syndrome for more than 30 years, and recent work by his team revealed surprising new estimates for the number of children affected by these disorders in the United States.
“We have estimated rates of 2-5% in the general population and it’s probably very similar for many countries in Europe,” he said.
“Many children with FAS go to school and they’re not doing well but nobody knows why,” said May. In one of his studies, May found that around 16% of children with FAS had not been diagnosed by the time his team examined them at age seven. “Approximately 80% go undiagnosed,” he added.
So ladies, are you going to put down the liquor? Or run to the nearest doctor’s office to get some birth control?