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Confused? You’re not the only one.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report, and in it, their stance on drinking takes a noticeable shift. Federal health officials recommend that sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 44 avoid consuming alcohol unless they’re on birth control.

The warning is especially targeted to those who are trying to get pregnant. In a statement, CDC Principle Deputy Director Anne Schuchat explained the risk:

“Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant. About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking. The risk is real. Why take the chance?”

Their goal is to reduce the cases of fetal alcohol syndrome, which are estimated at 2 to 5 per 100 school children. While it’s not realistic to assume that women who are not on birth control will immediately cease their occasional wine and beer, Wanda Filer from the American Academy of Family Physicians says, “hopefully, this is the sort of report that will make people stop and think.”

SOURCE: ELLE | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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