The consumption of alcohol by mothers during and after pregnancy can have important effects on the developing child and it is estimated that around 1 in a 100 children has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Although women generally reduce their alcohol consumption once they become pregnant they usually return to their normal drinking patterns once they have had their baby. However, frequent heavy maternal drinking is associated with poorer family functioning, poorer intellectual stimulation and increased domestic violence. A study of 381 women in Wisconsin, U.S. who were frequent/heavy drinkers before they became pregnant found that 37.8% of them drank heavily after they had had their babies. 18% reported heavy, episodic drinking, 5% reported frequent drinking only and 15% reported both frequent and heavy drinking. Women who drank heavily after having their babies were more likely than other women to have a heavy drinking partner, to have been unemployed, to have smoked following pregnancy and to have consumed alcohol after becoming pregnant. Women who breast-fed their children were less likely to report heavy drinking.
Jagodzinski, T. and Fleming, M.F. - Postpartum and alcohol-related factors associated with the relapse of heavy drinking Journal of Studies on Alchohol and Drugs November 2007, 68(6), 879-885