Alcohol and Pregnancy: Do Abstinence Policies Have Unintended Consequences?
Most policies and guidelines recommend that women abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. This can be difficult to achieve in developed nations where the majority of women consume alcohol and almost half of pregnancies are unplanned, leading to many pregnancies being exposed to alcohol prior to pregnancy awareness. Concerns have been raised that abstinence policies may lead women in this situation to terminate their pregnancy out of fear that they have harmed their baby; however, the evidence is limited. A recent study found that while few women reported alcohol as the reason for seeking an abortion, in almost all cases where alcohol was the reason, the women were either binge drinking or reported alcohol-related problems and the pregnancy was unplanned.