Last year the CDC released recommendations that rubbed women the wrong way.
The recommendations implied that women needed express directions in order to moderate their alcohol consumption. Further perpetuating the idea that women needed to be told how to take care of their bodies, whether or not they were pregnant.
The CDC’s recommendations led Katherine Hartmann, deputy director of the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University, to view study results she was already working on through an entirely new lens. Ultimately the results found that women, without external prompting, shift their drinking habits after learning they are pregnant.
According to Mashable, “more than half of all women reported that they drank in their first trimester, but ninety percent of them stopped once realizing they were pregnant.”
The CDC recommends that women not drink at all if they are either pregnant or planning to get pregnant. An infographic on their website illustrates exactly what doctors should be telling their patients, including “recommend birth control if a woman is having sex (if appropriate), not planning to get pregnant, and is drinking alcohol.”
Hartmann’s study, which was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that oftentimes women who drink during their first semester do so because they are not aware that they are pregnant at all. This contradicts the narrative that women knowingly move forward with the same drinking habits they had prior to becoming pregnant.
“I take heart that this data tells me women are aware of their bodies,” said Hartmann, according to Mashable. “They are making good decisions … We just found it so heartening that behavior immediately changed.”