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Aurora magazine

Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy: an european study

An international study has analyzed the consumption of alcohol in pregnancy by over 7,000 women from 11 European countries. The most virtuous country is Norway, while the UK has the highest rate of women who drink while knowing they are pregnant. In each country, researchers used the same methods and criteria. In this way the data were comparable and a wider picture of the situation in Europe was obtained.

On average, 16% of women in the 11 countries drank when pregnancy was already over. The women who reported having drunk were largely mature, of high culture and laborers. Many of them had the smell of smoke before they became pregnant. Analyzing individual country statistics, the percentage rises to 28.5% in the UK and falls to 4.1% in Norway.

Why a marked difference between the UK and Norway? On average, British drink much more than Norwegians. Nonetheless, countries with similar alcohol consumption still have few pregnant women and intakes. Among them are for example Poland and France. There is therefore no correlation between percentages of drinkers in general and women who are pregnant. According to the authors of the study, information on the consequences of alcohol in pregnancy could be crucial.

Among women who claimed to have been pregnant, 39% consumed at least one unit of alcohol per month. In Italy, 7.8% of them even drank 1-2 units per week. It seems that Italian women who continue to drink during pregnancy drink much more than those in other countries. Again, information and national culture could play a key role.

The analysis included in the percentages even those who drank only 1-2 units of alcohol throughout pregnancy. However, it should be borne in mind that there is no minimum quantity under which pregnant alcohol is safe. It is therefore best to avoid alcohol in full. To protect the baby's health, it is good for mom to undergo prenatal screening tests such as fetal DNA test.