Alcohol consumption creeps back up after pregnancy

File under: news that will shock no one.

New research has found that while women stop drinking once they find out they’re pregnant, they’re usually back up to their previous drinking levels by the time their child is five years old.

What are the reasons this isn’t surprising?

  1. Natural barriers can help people drink less than they want to. Barriers can be responsibilities to yourself (your career, your fitness) or other people (your coworkers, your friends, your family) that make it harder to drink heavily. Pregnancy is a very strong barrier, because it means drinking will harm someone you already love - your unborn child.

  2. Drinking has a way of creeping back up when it’s lowered or even stopped. If you’ve set lines in the sand that you don’t want to cross with drinking (e.g., no drinking before 5pm), you’ve likely seen them get crossed. People who’ve quit for years sometimes find themselves drinking out of nowhere, because a stray thought occurred to them at a time when they had no interfering obligations (the ‘barriers’ we mentioned before).

  3. People may not be aware of the impact drinking has on young children. Many people are aware they shouldn’t drink during pregnancy, because of risks to the unborn child. But they may not be thinking as much about how drinking too much may make them less attentive parents, or less emotionally sensitive parents. The incentive isn’t as strong.

If you’ve decided to make lasting changes to your drinking, we’d love to help. Try out Drinker’s Helper, the quit drinking app, today and trial its support groups and exercises for free.