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Irish drink most while pregnant, study finds

By Jennifer Cockerell

Published 07/07/2015

Irish women are the biggest drinkers during pregnancy, health experts have warned after carrying out a large scale global study.

Women across all socio-demographic groups were likely to drink - but those who smoked were up to 50% more likely to consume alcohol while pregnant, research led by the University of Cambridge found.

Researchers called the widespread consumption of even low levels of alcohol during pregnancy as a "significant public health concern".

Their analysis of almost 18,000 women in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia found drinking during pregnancy was commonplace in all four countries, from 20% to 80% in Ireland and from 40% upwards in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Ireland had the highest prevalence of any alcohol consumption pre-pregnancy (90%) and during pregnancy (82%), and the highest reported binge consumption before (59%) and during (45%) pregnancy.

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