Drinking During Pregmancy Relevant Statistics

2003 Teresa Kellerman



About half of women of childbearing age drink alcohol.  Source: Frequent Alcohol Consumption Among Women of Childbearing Age -- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 1991; CDC MMWR May 13, 1994 / 43(18);328-329,335) http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00030910.htm


The rates of drinking by pregnant and non-pregnant women remained unchanged during the 1990's.  Source: CDC News Release Nov. 1, 2000 http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r2k1101.htm


The rate of drinking among women of childbearing age before they know they are pregnant is currently 53%, and half of these drinkers are binge drinkers.  Even after knowing they are pregnant, 10% of women REPORT that they continue to drink, and 3% ADMIT to binge drinking while pregnant.  Source: SAMHSA 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health http://www.samhsa.gov/oas/nhsda/2k2nsduh/Results/2k2Results.htm#chap3


(Binge use of alcohol was defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. )


About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Source:  Alan Guttmacher Institute News Release "Unplanned Pregnancy Common Worldwide" 1999.



15% of women of childbearing age are problem drinkers (binge and/or frequent drinking).  Source: Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2000 Oct;24(10):1517-24  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11045860&dopt=Abstract


Out of every100 women of childbearing age, 10 get pregnant each year.  Five are self-reported drinkers; five report to be non-drinkers.  Two of these ten women will have abortions, two will have spontaneous miscarriages.  Of the six who give birth, three will report consumption of alcohol during the month prior to knowledge of her pregnancy.  Two will quit drinking.  One woman will continue to drink significant amounts of alcohol during her pregnancy.  There are 60 million women of childbearing age.  An estimated 130,000 pregnant women per year in the United States consume alcohol at levels shown to increase the risk of having a baby with FAS or other prenatal alcohol-related condition.  Source:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statement "Preventing Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies" July 2003, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas/fasprev.htm


With these statistics in mind, it is easy to understand how 5,000-8,000 babies each year in the U.S. are born with full Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and how an additional 35,000-50,000 are born with Fetal Alcohol Effects.  Source: JTO News Report "More Babies Born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" 4/9/2001 from report issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Public Health Education Information Sheet, March of Dimes, 1992, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 2001 fact sheet.  http://www.nofas.org/main/stats.htm




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