Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research reveals that one in seven pregnant people reported alcohol use in the past month and one in 20 of pregnant people reported binge drinking. Pregnant people who experienced frequent mental distress and did not have a healthcare provider were more likely to report alcohol use. Relatedly, nearly half of adult women reported drinking alcohol in the past month while 13% reported binge drinking. This month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the prevalence, risks, and the obstetrician-gynecologist's critical role in reducing the rates of alcohol use.
Evidence suggests that the high blood alcohol concentrations associated with binge drinking may be especially harmful, making these statistics particularly concerning. Alcohol use is also the leading cause of preventable birth defects. The range of effects resulting from alcohol exposure in utero are known collectively as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
ACOG recommends that ob-gyns implement universal screening and brief intervention for risky alcohol use, including any alcohol use during pregnancy. Ob-gyns can play an important role in screening, educating patients on the risks, and supporting patients during times of distress. Learn more about the validated AUDIT (U.S.) screening tool and access the state-by-state resource directories for referral to treatment along other free resources on www.acog.org/alcohol.