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CDC’s new guidelines for drinking and pregnancy hit home in Wisconsin

Shamane Mills Wisconsin Public Radio The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long warned women not to drink during pregnancy, and now the agency is focusing its efforts on those who might get pregnant. New recommendations released this...

Shamane Mills

Wisconsin Public Radio

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long warned women not to drink during pregnancy, and now the agency is focusing its efforts on those who might get pregnant. New recommendations released this week urge women of childbearing age to avoid alcohol if they're not on birth control. That's especially relevant in Wisconsin, where the rate of excessive drinking before getting pregnant is particularly high.  

Previous data from a national survey of new mothers shows Wisconsin ranked first in the percentage of women who binge drink in the three months prior to pregnancy.

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"We hear a lot from program participants that they were drinking before they found out they were pregnant," said Chelsea Stover, a perinatal program coordinator for the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation. "And for some of them that's early on in the pregnancy however for some of them that could be later on, second or third trimester."

According to Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, rates of drinking and binge drinking among young women are on the rise, meaning it's quite common for women who could become pregnant to be consuming alcohol. She said those most likely to drink are between the ages of 25-29.

With half of all pregnancies in the U.S. unplanned, the CDC estimates more than 3 million women of childbearing age are at risk of exposing a developing fetus to alcohol if they drink, have sex and are not using birth control. The CDC says alcohol use during pregnancy can cause physical and intellectual problems for children.

According to estimates, 8 percent of Wisconsin women drink during pregnancy.

More WPR news is available on KUWS-FM 91.3 or online at wpr.org.

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2016, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

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