A new report from the United States warns that women who are sexually active and not using birth control are taking major risks.
According to the report, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than three million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, having sex, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.
About half of all US pregnancies are unplanned and, even if planned, most women do not know they are pregnant until they are four to six weeks into the pregnancy. This means a woman might be drinking and exposing her developing baby to alcohol without knowing it.
Interestingly, three out of four women who want to get pregnant as soon as possible report drinking alcohol, despite the recommendation that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol at all.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which are physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that last a lifetime.
It’s the latest report urging women to think ahead when it comes to pregnancy, and not just from a family planning perspective. Last year a Safefood campaign encouraged all women who are sexually active, regardless of their plans to start a family, to take folic acid daily to reduce Ireland’s high incidence rate of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) like Spina Bifida among newborn babies.
In short the advice is that even if you’re not pregnant, if there’s a chance you could conceive you should behave like you already have.
Tell us, should would-be mums abstain from drinking alcohol? Talk to us on Twitter @HerFamilydotie.