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Many Women Still Drink Through Pregnancy

Up to 12% of women drink while pregnant—but more moderately than they used to.

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By Fionna Agomuoh

04/13/12

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A Swedish study has discovered that a significant number of women continue to imbibe alcohol while pregnant. The report, published on April 6 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that many female drinkers, including some with a history of binge drinking, continued to drink during their pregnancies, but in more moderate amounts. The study used data from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). Studying the alcohol consumption of 2,264 women from a Swedish antenatal clinic, researchers found that before pregnancy, 89% of the women reported drinking regularly and 49% reported occasional or frequent binge drinking. During pregnancy, 12% of the women reported continued use of alcohol and 5% admitted binge drinking. Researchers found that the women with high AUDIT scores were more likely to report having continued drinking during pregnancy. Testing some of the women mid-pregnancy for biomarkers for excessive drinking, researchers also found that the alcohol biomarker values were too low to report. "While the AUDIT results suggested that a significant number of women continued using alcohol during pregnancy, implying a risk for fetal disorders, the biomarkers showed negative test values thus indicating only modest drinking levels," the report’s authors say. They plan further research in to the development of children who were exposed to alcohol in the womb

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