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Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182a6b226
Original Research

Association Between Maternal Alcohol Consumption in Early Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcomes

McCarthy, Fergus P. PhD, MD; O'Keeffe, Linda M. BSc; Khashan, Ali S. PhD, MSc; North, Robyn A. PhD, MD; Poston, Lucilla PhD; McCowan, Lesley M. E. MD, FRANZCOG; Baker, Philip N. FRCOG, DM; Dekker, Gus A. PhD, MD; Roberts, Claire T. PhD; Walker, James J. MD, FRCOG; Kenny, Louise C. PhD, MD

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and binge drinking before and during early pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

METHODS: We used data from 5,628 nulliparous pregnant participants recruited to the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study, a prospective cohort study. Participants were interviewed at 15 weeks of gestation and information on alcohol intake before pregnancy and until the time of interview was obtained using a standardized questionnaire. Alcohol intake was classified as occasional (1–2 units per week), low (3–7 units per week), moderate (8–14 units per week), and heavy (greater than 14 units per week). Binge alcohol consumption was defined as consumption of 6 or more alcohol units in one session.

RESULTS: Of the 5,628 participants, 1,090 (19%) reported occasional alcohol consumption, 1,383 (25%) low alcohol consumption, 625 (11%) moderate alcohol consumption, and 300 (5%) heavy alcohol consumption. Overall, 1,905 (34%) participants reported binge alcohol consumption in the 3 months before pregnancy, and 1,288 (23%) of these participants reported binge alcohol consumption during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. Participants who consumed occasional to heavy amounts of alcohol in early pregnancy did not have altered odds of a small-for-gestational-age neonate, reduced birth weight, preeclampsia, or spontaneous preterm birth. Similarly, those who binge drank in early pregnancy did not have altered odds of these adverse pregnancy outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Alcohol consumption in early pregnancy was prevalent in this nulliparous cohort. There was no association between alcohol consumption before 15 weeks of gestation and small for gestational age, reduced birth weight, preeclampsia, or spontaneous preterm birth.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II

© 2013 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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