23 states, and Washington D.C., require signs warning about the harms of drinking alcohol while pregnant
According to research collected between 1989 to 2010, of Washington, D.C. and the 23 states that clearly denote the harms of alcohol where alcohol is sold, more women are less likely to drink thanks to the signs.
An 11% decrease in alcohol consumption among pregnant women, especially within the 30 and over age group, has been noted since the signs came into play.
“Drinking alcohol while pregnant has been an issue that many policies have tried to address over the last few decades. An 11 percent change in the prevalence of drinking is not trivial. It is big enough to show up in the birth outcomes,” said Gulcan Cil, a health economist at the University of Oregon and a lead author on the study.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, women are encouraged to either stop drinking as soon as they find out they are pregnant or when they begin to try to get pregnant, which ever comes first.
Physicians are encouraged to walk women through the harms of drinking while pregnant, which could include fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
While researchers cannot link a direct connection between the signs and the lower rates of alcohol consumption, they deem it a positive sign.
“Some people never get exposed to these kinds of educational campaigns,” said Cil to HealthDay. “I found that the issue has never been studied and evaluated as a public education program or public awareness program.”