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On Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy In Europe: Highest Proportion in UK [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 13, 2017 09:30 AM EDT

Research on alcohol consumption during pregnancy across Europe showed that 16 percent of women drank alcohol even after being confirmed pregnant. Older women who received higher education were more likely to do so.

In a study of 7,905 women in 11 European countries who responded to an online questionnaire for this research, 28.5 percent of pregnant women in the UK reported drinking alcohol during pregnancy, followed by Russia at 26.5 percent. In Norway, the proportion was the lowest at 4.1 percent. Among all these women who declared they drank, 39 percent said that at least one unit of alcohol was consumed a month. In the analysis, women in Italy drank the most compared to the rest of the countries because they consumed between one and two units on a weekly basis.

In Sweden, 7.2 percent of women reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy--one of the lowest proportions. They, along with those in Norway, reported drinking only 1 to 2 units for the entire period of their pregnancy.

The researchers explained that there are some factors that contribute to what was learned about the behavior of pregnant women with respect to drinking alcohol. They include socio-cultural factors and the guidelines, policies and educational campaigns implemented by the government in these countries. The countries involved in the study were the UK, Finland, France, Poland, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Croatia, Russia, and Italy.

In earlier studies, a rather unexpected phenomenon was observed. Older and more highly educated women were found to be more likely to consume alcohol during pregnancy, and the researchers believe it could be because of their attitude toward the guidelines, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health reported.

It is important for pregnant women to abstain from alcohol consumption throughout the period as there is no known safe level. Drinking alcohol could increase the risk of miscarriages and disabilities such low IQ, difficulties with learning, hyperactivity, low body weight and small head size among others, according to the CDC.

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