Indianapolis News and Headlines


CDC: Don't drink alcohol if not on birth control

Posted at 12:16 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 21:19:55-05

Women between the ages of 18 and 44 should not drink alcohol if they are sexually active and not using birth control, the Centers for Disease Control recommended this week.

The CDC says doctors should tell women who are trying to get pregnant to stop drinking alcohol as soon as they stop using birth control, because if they get pregnant and don't know it, the alcohol could affect the developing baby.

“Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, “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?”

The CDC estimates that about 3.3 million women in the U.S. are putting their developing baby at risk. These are women who are having sex, are not pregnant and not sterile -- about 7.3 percent.

There is no safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman, according to the report.

“Every woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant – and her partner – want a healthy baby. But they may not be aware that drinking any alcohol at any stage of pregnancy can cause a range of disabilities for their child,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. 


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