At least 1 in 10 US women reports using alcohol during pregnancy

  • Denny CH & al.
  • MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • 26.04.2019

  • von Elisabeth Aron, MD, MPH, FACOG
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • More than 11% of US women report alcohol use during pregnancy.

Why this matters

  • There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • Alcohol is a teratogen and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy is preventable and is a public health concern.
  • The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening and brief behavioral counseling in primary care settings for all adults, including pregnant women, ≥18 years of age.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women avoid alcohol use.

Key results

  • 11.5% of pregnant women reported current drinking (at least 1 alcoholic drink in the past 30 days).
  • 3.9% of pregnant women reported binge drinking (≥4 drinks on at least 1 occasion in the past 30 days).
  • Unmarried women were more likely to drink during pregnancy compared with married women: 15.2% vs 8.6%; adjusted prevalence ratio, 2.2.

Study design

  • Population cohort study.
  • Cohort taken from 2015 to 2017 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a random-digit-dialed landline and cell phone telephone survey for US adults ≥18 years.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • Data are self-reported and subject to recall bias.