Key Findings: Alcohol use and binge drinking among pregnant women aged 18–44 years – United States, 2015–2017

In a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) article, CDC researchers found that about 1 in 9 pregnant women reported drinking alcohol* in the past 30 days. Among pregnant women, about one third who reported consuming alcohol engaged in binge drinking.†

Key Findings: Alcohol use and binge drinking among pregnant women

Alcohol exposure during pregnancy can be harmful to the brain of a developing baby and may result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Screening for alcohol use, combined with brief counseling, may decrease alcohol use during pregnancy and reduce the risk of FASDs and other negative pregnancy and birth outcomes.

Read the full scientific article.

Main Findings

  • About 1 in 9 pregnant women reported drinking alcohol* in the past 30 days.
  • About one third of pregnant women who reported consuming alcohol engaged in binge drinking.†
  • Pregnant women who reported binge drinking in the past 30 days reported an average of 4.5 binge-drinking episodes during that same time period.

* Drinking alcohol was defined as having at least one drink of any alcoholic beverage in the past 30 days.
Binge drinking was defined as having consumed four or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days.

Basics about Alcohol Use during Pregnancy

About this Study

  • The study uses self-reported data collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based, landline and cellphone survey of the U.S. population.
  • To estimate alcohol use and binge drinking for pregnant women aged 18–44 years, data from the 2015–2017 BRFSS were analyzed for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Among binge drinkers, the frequency (number of binge drinking episodes in the past 30 days) and intensity (largest number of drinks consumed during any episode in the past 30 days) of binge drinking was also estimated.

CDC activities: Preventing alcohol exposure during pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs)

CDC is working to prevent alcohol exposure during pregnancy with the following activities:

More Information

 

Key Findings Reference

Denny CH, Acero CS, Naimi TS, Kim SY. Consumption of alcohol beverages and binge drinking among pregnant women aged 18–44 years – United States, 2015–2017. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2019; 68(16): 365-368. [Read Article]