1 in 7 Pregnant Women Consumes Alcohol

Alcohol consumption

A recent survey by U.S. health officials found that an estimated 7.6% of pregnant women use alcohol, with 1.4% of them binge-drinking, and the rate of non-binge prenatal drinking is highest among older white, college-educated women.

These numbers may seem small in comparison to the 51.5% of non-pregnant women who drink (and the 15% who binge). But while several large non-U.S. studies recently suggested that moderate alcohol consumption of up to 8 drinks a week, even during early pregnancy, doesn’t appear to harm a developing fetus,  the official U.S. medical opinion is that all women should abstain from alcohol entirely while pregnant. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says alcohol use during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders.

Of course, avoiding alcohol entirely during early pregnancy isn’t always easy given you might not know you’re pregnant yet – especially given that 49% of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned – which is why one bar is taking a stand: Pub 500, in Mankatow, Minnesota, recently installed the first-of-its-kind pregnancy test dispenser in its women’s restroom.

The tests, sold at $3 a pop (way cheaper than traditional drugstore prices), were made available thanks to Healthy Brains for Healthy Children’s executive director Jody Allen Crowe, who hopes that female patrons will take the test before they imbibe – and reconsider doing so if the result is positive. Crowe wants to install more dispensers in bars, gas stations, malls and gyms throughout Minnesota and across the country.