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More Than 10 Percent of Mothers Admit Getting Drunk During Pregnancy

Update Date: Oct 15, 2013 03:53 PM EDT

A new study reveals that more than 10 percent of women get drunk during pregnancy.

Norwegian researchers found that 12 percent and 0.5 percent of women binge drink during their first and second trimester.

The study also found that 16 percent of women had light alcohol use in the first trimester and 10 percent in the second trimester.

Researchers linked negative affectivity, the tendency to experience negative emotions like anxiety and depression, to light alcohol use and binge drinking during pregnancy. Experts explain that people with negative affectivity tend to have an unfavorable view of themselves and the world in general. Past research has linked negative affectivity to greater vulnerability to stress, intense emotional reactions to daily life and inclination to use intoxicants in response to stress.

Lead researcher Dr. Kim Stene-Larsen from the Norwegian Institute of Public health in Oslo, Norway used data from 66,111 pregnant women and their partners who were part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). The women filled out surveys related to alcohol use at 17 and 30 weeks of gestation.

Researchers measured alcohol use using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test- Consumption (AUDIT-C). They assessed negative affectivity in gestational weeks 17 and 30 using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist, which measures anxiety and depression.

The findings revealed that the odds for light alcohol increased by 27 percent in the first and 28 percent in second trimester with each unit increase in maternal negative affectivity. Researcher found that binge drinking rates were significantly higher at 55 percent in the first trimester and 114 percent in the second trimester for each unite increase of negative affectivity in the mother.

"Our findings clearly show a link between a mother's negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, and light alcohol use and binge drinking during pregnancy," Dr. Stene-Larsen said in a news release. "Further study is needed to understand why women continue to drink alcohol while pregnant despite health warnings."

The findings are published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica

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