Young women who binge or frequently drink alcohol were more likely to drink during the early stages of pregnancy, according to new research.
The study, led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and Deakin University, found alcohol use was common among young adult women prior to becoming pregnant (72 percent) and in the first six weeks of pregnancy (76 percent).
The research, published in Addiction, used MCRI data from the Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS) and involved almost 300 Australian women, highlighted a striking continuity in women’s patterns of alcohol use across two decades and into the first weeks of pregnancy.
It found that most women who drank in early pregnancy had an earlier history of frequent (77 percent) and/or binge drinking (85 percent) across the adolescent or young adult years.
Deakin University Associate Professor Delyse Hutchinson said the study was one of the first worldwide to have collected prospective longitudinal data spanning the peak period of alcohol use through to the early weeks of pregnancy.
“We assessed risky drinking patterns, including binge and frequent drinking, and found they continued unchanged into the early weeks of pregnancy, particularly the first six weeks when many women are not aware they are pregnant,” she said.
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