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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1997 Apr 25;46(16):346-50.

Alcohol consumption among pregnant and childbearing-aged women--United States, 1991 and 1995.


Moderate to heavy alcohol use by women during pregnancy has been associated with many severe adverse effects in their children, including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)--with facial dysmorphology, growth retardation, and central nervous system deficits--and other neurodevelopmental effects. Early prenatal alcohol exposure can occur unintentionally (i.e., before a woman knows she is pregnant); in addition, women who drink at high levels before pregnancy are at increased risk for drinking during pregnancy. Ongoing surveillance for alcohol consumption among pregnant and childbearing-aged women is important for monitoring the impact of efforts to prevent this risk behavior. This report analyzes and compares data from the 1995 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and previously reported 1991 BRFSS data for women aged 18-44 years, and presents the prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant women and overall and state-specific prevalence rates among women of childbearing age. The findings indicate a substantial increase in alcohol use among pregnant women from 1991 to 1995.

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