About one in 10 pregnant women have admitted to drinking alcohol occasionally, according to new federal research, and honestly they have enough on their minds and don’t need the judgment they’re getting from you right now.

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Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed a survey of over 200,000 women taken between 2011 and 2013, including 8,333 who were pregnant at the time, and found that older mothers were the most likely to drink during their pregnancy; college graduates were twice as likely to drink as non-graduates, and unmarried women 4.6 times as likely to drink as married women.

NBC News reports:

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Nearly 19 percent of the pregnant women aged 35 to 44 admitted to having at least one drink while pregnant. Thirteen percent of college graduates and 13 percent of unmarried women also said they’d had a drink.

The study also found that while only 18 percent of all women 18 to 44 in the U.S. report binge drinking (defined as at least four drinks in an evening/morning), the 3.1 percent of pregnant women who copped to binge drinking copped to doing so more frequently than non-pregnant women: 4.6 times in the past month, compared with three times, possibly because women who would binge drink during pregnancy are more likely to be alcohol-dependent than a woman who isn’t, according to researchers.

“We know that alcohol use during pregnancy can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies, as well as an increased risk of other pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth and prematurity,” said Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities in an interview with AFP.

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Still, several European studies have found that women who drink in moderation while pregnant are actually fine. One long-term Danish study found that babies of moms who drank a little were more emotionally and behaviorally adjusted, because the moms were better-educated and had a generally healthier lifestyle—not, it bears saying, because of the alcohol. Another found that women could drink up to eight alcoholic beverages a week in early stages of pregnancy without fucking up a future child.

The CDC disagrees: “Any alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects and developmental disabilities,” said the first study’s author Cheryl Tan.

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So, when you conceive, it is probably best to lock yourself in a padded box for nine months.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

Image via Shutterstock.