CDC tells young women to avoid alcohol if not using birth control

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The CDC says women ages 15-44 who are sexually active and not using contraception should avoid alcohol completely.

The sweeping warning came out Tuesday in a move to reduce cases of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Half of all pregnancies in the United States are now unplanned, meaning many women may be drinking while pregnant for 4-6 weeks and not know it.

“Alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with a range of adverse reproductive outcomes and can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, characterized by lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities,” says the report.

Last September, the CDC reported that 1 in 10 pregnant women in the United States said they drank alcohol while pregnant, and nearly a third of those who self-reported drinking while pregnant also reported binge drinking.

Epidemiological studies in the United States have shown that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome impacts Native Americans at the highest rates, followed by African-Americans.