CANBERRA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Almost half of Australia's pregnant women
drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy, and some even admit to binge drinking
in the final months before giving birth, according to a study issued on
The women who were prepared to drink on were also more likely to smoke
during their pregnancy, according to the study of 4,700 mothers in Western
However, the bad habit put these women at the risk of having their baby
prematurely, according to the research which was released on Wednesday by WA's
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.
"Our research shows pregnant women who drink more than one to two standard
drinks per occasion - and more than six standard drinks per week - increase
their risk of having a premature baby," the institute's researcher Colleen
O'Leary said on Wednesday.
This was the case even if the women stopped drinking before their second
trimester, O'Leary said.
"The risk of pre-term birth is highest for pregnant women who drink heavily
or at binge levels, meaning drinking more than seven standard drinks per week,
or more than five drinks on any one occasion," Australian Associated Press
quoted her as saying.
The study found a low birth weight was more likely to be caused by a
mother's smoking rather than drinking.
"Women should be advised that during pregnancy, drinking alcohol above low
levels increases the risk to the baby and that the safest choice is not to drink
alcohol," O'Leary said.