A study of women who attended the Coombe Women’s Hospitalii found that almost two-thirds (63%) of the 43,318 women surveyed said they drank alcohol during their pregnancy. Below is an article taken from Alcohol Action Ireland.
“It is in a child’s best interests for a prospective mother not to drink alcohol while pregnant due to the risk of developmental brain disorders to the child. Yet two out of three women in Ireland continue to drink alcohol during their pregnancy. The advice from the country’s Chief Medical Officeri is clear:
Given the harmful drinking patterns in Ireland and the propensity to binge drink, there is a substantial risk of neurological damage to the foetus resulting in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Therefore, it is in the child’s best interest for a pregnant woman not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
A study of women who attended the Coombe Women’s Hospitalii found that almost two-thirds (63%) of the 43,318 women surveyed said they drank alcohol during their pregnancy. The situation is put into stark relief when the number of women who stopped drinking during pregnancy 13.2% is contrasted with the almost 50% who gave up smoking. What the numbers suggest is that women are making choices based on what they perceive as greater risk to their own health and that of their child’s.
Why is it surprising that women in Ireland continue to drink during their pregnancies? In the most recent European study of 15 and 16-year-olds more Irish girls (44%) than boys (42%) reported ‘binge’ drinking during the past month.iii Over half (54%) said they were drunk at least once by the age of 16. Frequent and heavy drinking has become the norm with Ireland near the top of the European poll when it comes to the amount we drink in a year, and the amount we drink in a session.iv Ireland has the third highest per adult consumption rate out of 26 EU countries.
While women may receive information telling them that alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy that information is outweighed by the extent of alcohol marketing which adds to the cultural acceptability and normalising of problem levels of alcohol use. Alcohol is marketed and sold in supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores as if it were just another grocery so that it has become an everyday item in the family shopping basket. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women receive either little information or contradictory information on alcohol during pregnancy from a number of sources including health care providers…”
To read this article in full please visit the Alcohol Action Ireland website.