STUDY: Mothers Return to Pre-Pregnancy Drinking Within Five Years

The average mother returns to their pre-pregnancy drinking habits by the time their child is of school age,an Australian study has found.

According to research led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, women dramatically reduce their alcohol consumption on learning they are pregnant, although they tend to return to their old ways by the time their youngest child is five.

Men, on average, did not change their alcohol consumption on becoming fathers.

Women drank at a reduced in the first 12 months of their child's life. After that, researchers observed a gradual increase in alcohol consumption over the next four years, until it generally returned to a pre-pregnancy level.

The study, which drew on data from 4,000 people aged between 21 and 35 from Australia and New Zealand across three longitudinal studies, also found 15 per cent of mothers with children aged five or over reported binge drinking in the past week.

However, women were still more likely to binge drink if they were not mothers, with 25 per cent of women without children reporting the behavior.

In the three studies analyzed, binge drinking for women was generally defined as consuming five or more drinks in one night. The NHMRC Australian Alcohol Guidelines define binge drinking as consuming four or more drinks in one night.

Men were not more or less likely to report binge drinking behavior based on whether or not they were a parent.

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