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Pregnant Women Advised To Refrain Alcohol Drinking While Being In Birth Control Program

Update Date: Feb 05, 2016 12:12 PM EST

In a bid to reduce cases of infants diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently advised sexually active women of childbearing age to stay away from alcohol if they're not on contraceptives.

"Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant. About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won't know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking. The risk is real. Why take the chance? ," remarked CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat as quoted by USA Today.

According to government-released data, around 3.3 million sexually active and alcohol-drinking American women ages 15 to 44 are reportedly not using any forms of birth control thereby putting unborn babies at risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome when they get pregnant.

The problem with CDC's public health communication report, however, is that the seemingly vague recommendation has been largely interpreted as an outrageous mandate for all non-pregnant adult women of reproductive age to quit drinking to save the lives of some unborn theoretical babies.

"Critics may argue that there's little sacrifice in avoiding sex or drinking while not using contraception, but invoking the health of a baby that doesn't yet exist radically changes that equation", writer Rebecca Ruiz argued in Mashable as quoted by BBC.

Despite the increasing hype over CDC's misinterpreted guidelines, CDC clarified their message that's getting quite a lot of mixed reactions. The report as intended for women who planned to conceive but still continued drinking alcohol while trying to get pregnant.

"Women should have conversations with their health professionals about drinking alcohol and their health, in general. Particularly if they are planning to get pregnant or trying to get pregnant, this should be part of the conversation that they're having," remarked Lela McKnight-Eily of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Team at the CDC as mentioned in a report by The Huffington Post.

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