A study of 7,000 women in 11 European countries, found that in Norway the lowest percentage of consuming alcohol during pregnancy, while the highest - in the UK. Countries where women during pregnancy consume hard liquor more often - it is the United Kingdom (28.5%), Russia (26.5%) and Switzerland (20.9%).
On average, 16% of women in 11 European countries reported that consumed alcohol during pregnancy. At the same time the lowest rates - in Norway (4.1%), Sweden (7.2%) and Poland (9.7%). Women who reported alcohol consumption, were older, had higher levels of education, work and smoked before pregnancy.
Although the British drink more Norwegians, the study found that in countries with a comparable culture of alcohol consumption (Poland and France) Women who drink during pregnancy, much less.
"The differences in behavior between the two countries has a number of explanations. It is the differences in national guidelines or campaigns about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the differences in perinatal care and other factors, "- says Professor Hedvig Nordeng from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Of those women who claimed about alcohol consumption during pregnancy, 39% had used at least one unit per month.
A.Lupattelli the University of Oslo, who coordinated the study in Norway and Italy, explains: "Social and cultural factors play a role. National guidelines and alcohol policies affect women's behavior during pregnancy. "
The link between smoking before pregnancy and the use of alcohol during pregnancy was observed in earlier studies. Paradoxically, the older and more educated women drink during pregnancy more likely. The authors suggest that these women are critical of the recommendations of abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy.
Experts believe that is important to reach all women of childbearing age. "There is no safe minimum amount of alcohol that can be drunk during pregnancy. Therefore, we recommend that pregnant girls to completely abstain from alcoholic beverages, "- says Nordeng.
The study involved 7905 women, 53% of pregnant women and 46% - with a child up to one year. The countries included Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.