Ireland Tops List of Most Number of Pregnant Women Drinking Alcohol
Ireland has the world's highest rate of women drinking during their pregnancy, with an average of 60.4 percent or four in 10 Irish women who continued to drink despite the health risks.
The numbers of alcohol consuming mothers have significantly increased globally as well. Second in the list is Belarus with 46.6 percent. Denmark was at 45.8 percent, UK at 41.3 percent and Russia at 36.5 percent.
The experts have warned that this can cause substantial health issues in children. Indulging in alcohol makes them prone to epilepsy, cerebral palsy and hearing difficulties, according to Daily Mail.
It can also cause neurological damage to a baby's developing brain. This may lead to behavioral, social, learning, and attention difficulties throughout their lives.
A group called Alcohol Action Ireland has been actively urging women to stop drinking as it increases the risk of miscarriage. More than 12 drinks a week may lead to premature birth.
The study was conducted by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada and was published in The Lancet Global Health. Findings show that 1 in every 67 women who drank alcohol during pregnancy may risk bearing a child with foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Each year there are 119,000 children born with FAS worldwide.
Researchers found that the liver was one of the last organs to develop fully. But because of alcohol, babies were unable to process it efficiently greatly affecting their central nervous system. It can also affect a child's facial features and height.
Irish Examiner reported Coombe Women's Hospital estimated almost 63 percent of the 43,318 women surveyed admitted they drank alcohol during pregnancy. Nearly 50 percent gave up smoking.
There is a tendency of FAS rising worldwide in coming years. "The safest thing to do is to completely abstain from alcohol during the entire pregnanc,." said Dr. Svetlana Popova, study author from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Popova added that "appropriate screening for alcohol use in women of childbearing age, in combination with pre-conception health promotion, contraceptive counselling, and referral to substance-abuse programmes, should become routine in primary care settings".