The findings of a recent study suggest that middle-class mothers-to-be are more likely to imbibe alcohol while pregnant than women from any other economic tier.
The UK Telegraph is reporting that college-educated, mature white women from affluent areas were the most prone to ignoring medical advise on the matter.
“Our findings suggest that women should be advised to abstain from alcohol when planning to conceive and throughout pregnancy,” researchers were quoted as saying.
Those involved in the study also asserted that their findings “highlight the need for endorsing the abstinence-only message, and further illuminate how timing of exposure is important in the association of alcohol with birth outcomes, with the first trimester being the most vulnerable period.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said that there is “no safe time to drink during pregnancy and no safe kind of alcohol to drink while pregnant.”
“[Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders] … can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe,” officials noted on the CDC website, before adding that there is no cure for any of the disorders caused by consuming alcohol while pregnant.
A reported 1,264 women completed questionnaires that asked about their alcohol consumption habits throughout their pregnancies, allowing researchers to reach their conclusions.
Experts also found that those who drank during the first trimester were especially likely to have children who were born prematurely or with low birth weights.
“It is interesting that alcohol consumption was greatest in women from a strong economic and social background who should otherwise have the lowest risk of preterm birth and low birth weight,” Prof Andrew Whitelaw, Professor of Neonatal Medicine, University of Bristol, told the Telegraph. “This is further evidence that even moderate amounts of alcohol are toxic to the growing foetus and direct toxicity is further worsened by the increased complications of premature birth.”
He continued: “As 38 per cent of the women admitted risky drinking (over 10 units/week) before pregnancy and pregnancy is sometimes discovered late, the advice has to be to avoid alcohol completely when trying to conceive.”