How Do Pregnant Women Around the World View Alcohol?

Around the world, the variety of drinking cultures causes some women to wonder, “Is it OK to have just one drink while I’m pregnant?” However, the answer remains a resounding “No.” Nevertheless, many women find themselves continuing to ask this question of themselves and their doctors. It must be said, however, that because of social stigmas, in the U.S. the majority of women seem to be on board with not drinking during pregnancy. According to the CDC, about 90 percent of pregnant women say they refrain.

In other countries though, where alcohol is more deeply woven into the culture, alcohol consumption during pregnancy seems to be more common. A 2015 study found that alcohol consumption ranged from 20 percent to 80 percent among women in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. For those choosing to imbibe, the number of drinks consumed had a wide range. Some women merely enjoyed a glass of bubbly at a special event, while others regularly indulged in a glass or two at the end of the day. 

Even though the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are clear, Zuccolo told NPR, “We were surprised by how few studies have been published … on such an important topic.”

You Don’t Need a Study To Make The Right Choice

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Even if the studies are lacking, there is no reason for women to continue consuming alcohol while pregnant. The resulting harm of alcohol consumption is well-documented. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can cause everything from birth defects to struggles with mental development and health. Especially with heavy drinking, the consequences of a fun night out can be far-reaching.

In contrast, all of these problems can be avoided by simply not drinking. With such an easy solution to a whole host of problems, why would you continue to take the risk?

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