Next up in the news for nurses is a somewhat alarming article on the use of alcohol by pregnant women. Perhaps I should restate that and say abuse of alcohol by pregnant women. The CDC states that there is no evidence to support any safe amount of alcohol consumption for a woman who is pregnant.
CDC on Pregnancy and Alcohol
A new study and report from the Centers for Disease Control point to up to ten percent of women using alcohol during their pregnancies and as many of three percent of them report binge drinking episodes. Binge drinking is consuming more than four drinks at one time.
Any alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases risks for things like miscarriage, premature births and development of fetal alcohol syndrome in extreme cases. The data comes from a study by the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are completely preventable, according to the CDC. If a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy, her child has zero risk of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The report cites that women often get conflicting messages about alcohol during pregnancy. They might hear that a glass of wine is okay or that a single drink causes no harm.
Broad Study of Adult Pregnant Women
The study looked at pregnant women between the ages of 18-44 and found that ten percent admitted to using alcohol in the previous thirty days. Interestingly, alcohol use was highest with the older age groups and with college grads which leads you to think that those who are supposedly more educated or experienced are making bad decisions.
This article and study give you, the nurse, a powerful tool to use in advocacy for healthy and safe pregnancies. Work a question about alcohol consumption into your assessment of a pregnant woman. Her answer may provide you with a teaching opportunity and the option to point her to resources at places like the CDC on this topic.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Genetics, Breast Cancer and Nursing Show Episode 363.