Sunday Star Times 13 May 2012
New Zealand women are more than four times more likely to drink alcohol during pregnancy than mothers in the US, and twice as likely to drink heavily, a soon to be released study will show.
Health professionals are being trained in how to prevent and detect drinking during pregnancy, as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder rates look set to soar.
The study of about 100 lower socio-economic women by Auckland University psychological medicine department senior lecturer Trecia Wouldes, showed about 51 per cent of the women drank during pregnancy, about 10 per cent of them heavily so.
The developmental psychologist said in the US a study of a similar group of women showed only about 13 per cent were drinking, about 5 per cent heavily.
It’s estimated that about 80 per cent of women of child-bearing age in the wider New Zealand population drink before they know they are pregnant.
From the point of pregnancy recognition, about 27 per cent continue to drink some alcohol, and about 10 per cent continue to drink heavily or binge drink.