NEW RESEARCH HAS shown that pregnant Irish women are drinking less, but researchers are worried about the level of drinking early in pregnancy.
The research, published in the Irish Journal of Medical Science, was carried out by a group of researchers from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI).
The RAMI experts surveyed 240 women in 15 antenatal classes in the greater Dublin area.
They found that 97 per cent of women drank no more than once a week, 62 per cent did not drink at all, 10 per cent drank two to four times a month and, worryingly, 2.5 per cent drank three times a week or more.
The numbers made for good reading compared to similar studies in the past, the researchers said.
There was a marked reduction in the prevalence of alcohol use in pregnancy compared to previous research.
“Over 97 per cent drink no more than once a week, including almost two thirds of women who abstain totally from alcohol in pregnancy.”
The report says that between 1987 and 2005, a previous report had shown that only 28 per cent of prospective mothers abstained.
However, the report says that Irish women have “significantly higher rates of binge-drinking” than other countries, saying that much of this takes place in the “time of greatest vulnerability” for pregnant mothers.
That is classified as the year leading up to conception.