Home > Prevalence and predictors of alcohol use during pregnancy: findings from international multicentre cohort studies.

O'Keefe, Linda M and Kearney, Patricia M and McCarthy, Fergus P and Khashan, Ali S and Greene, Richard A and North, Robyn A and Poston, Lucilla and McCowan, Lesley ME and Baker, Philip N and Dekker, Gus A and Walker, James J and Taylor, Rennae S and Kenny, Louise C (2015) Prevalence and predictors of alcohol use during pregnancy: findings from international multicentre cohort studies. BMJ Open , 5 , (7) , e006323.

URL: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/7/e006323.abstrac...

Objectives: To compare the prevalence and predictors of alcohol use in multiple cohorts.
Design: Cross-cohort comparison of retrospective and prospective studies.
Setting: Population-based studies in Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Participants: 17 244 women of predominantly Caucasian origin from two Irish retrospective studies (Growing up in Ireland (GUI) and Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Ireland (PRAMS Ireland)), and one multicentre prospective international cohort, Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures: Prevalence of alcohol use pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy across cohorts. Sociodemographic factors associated with alcohol consumption in each cohort.

Results: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Ireland ranged from 20% in GUI to 80% in SCOPE, and from 40% to 80% in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Levels of exposure also varied substantially among drinkers in each cohort ranging from 70% consuming more than 1–2 units/week in the first trimester in SCOPE Ireland, to 46% and 15% in the retrospective studies. Smoking during pregnancy was the most consistent predictor of gestational alcohol use in all three cohorts, and smokers were 17% more likely to drink during pregnancy in SCOPE, relative risk (RR)=1.17 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.22), 50% more likely to drink during pregnancy in GUI, RR=1.50 (95% CI 1.36 to 1.65), and 42% more likely to drink in PRAMS, RR=1.42 (95% CI 1.18 to 1.70).

Conclusions: Our data suggest that alcohol use during pregnancy is prevalent and socially pervasive in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. New policy and interventions are required to reduce alcohol prevalence both prior to and during pregnancy. Further research on biological markers and conventions for measuring alcohol use in pregnancy is required to improve the validity and reliability of prevalence estimates.


Item Type:Article
Date:July 2015
Page Range:e006323
Publisher:BMJ Publishing
Volume:5
Number:7
EndNote:View
Subjects:A Substance use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence > Substance use behaviour > Alcohol consumption
B Substances > Alcohol
E Concepts in biomedical areas > Pregnancy
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Risk and protective factors > Risk factors
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Identification and screening > Identification and screening for substance use
T Demographic characteristics > Pregnant woman
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom
VA Geographic area > Australia and Oceania > Australia
VA Geographic area > Australia and Oceania > New Zealand

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