Ask Dr. Nandi: 1 in 9 U.S. women drink during pregnancy, and numbers are rising

Posted at 3:43 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-29 10:49:08-04

(WXYZ) — Pregnant women in the U.S. are increasingly drinking alcohol - even binge drinking. According to new research, that’s 1 in 9 pregnant women.

Question: What is the difference between regular drinking and binge drinking?

If you’re having more than seven drinks a week or over five drinks during an event, like at a party, a nice dinner or just relaxing at home, you’re actually binge drinking. In a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost four percent of pregnant women reported that they were binge drinking about four-and-a-half times a month. Basically every weekend. And in the same study that included almost 7,000 women between the ages of 18 and 44, over 11 percent of pregnant women described themselves as casual drinkers.

Question: How can drinking hurt the baby?

During pregnancy, your baby is growing and developing all the time. And when you drink alcohol it’s just the same as if you gave your unborn baby an alcoholic drink. But, because they’re so tiny, the alcohol breaks down more slowly and stays in their bodies a lot longer. And all the while their brains and nervous systems are developing. In fact, drinking while pregnant has long been linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes for infants. This can include fetal alcohol-related disorders including possible birth defects, impaired intellectual development and behavioral problems. And the risk of stillbirths and miscarriages also rise.

Question: Women often don’t even know they’re pregnant for the first month or two. What can they do if they were drinking during that time?

Well, the most important thing if a woman is trying to conceive is to stop drinking to prepare for pregnancy. And if she’s already pregnant, then she should stop drinking immediately. Because no amount of alcohol is safe, especially during the first 3 months. Now if she’s having a problem giving alcohol up, there are lots of resources available. She can talk to her family doctor or her Ob/Gyn. She can also reach out to a local Alcoholics Anonymous group, or find a local alcohol treatment center for extra support.


This week on the all-new Dr. Nandi show, while death is a normal part of life, many of us are too afraid to talk about it. Dr. Nandi, MD dives into this taboo topic with deep and provocative guests. Author Robert Clancy explains a powerful and comforting message: happiness can be found in the darkest of times. You’ll hear how one guest coped with 3 devastating losses: her father’s death, her best friend’s murder, and her husband who died of a massive heart attack. Plus a local Energy Healer shares her near-death experience and how she helps people prepare for death. Join Dr. Nandi this Monday April 29th at 1:30 am. If you’re not up this late, please set your DVR.