Inconsistent data on the association between prenatal alcohol exposure and a range of pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth (PTB) and small for gestational age (SGA) raise new questions. A project which used data from two large Western European studies aimed to assess whether the association between low-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and PTB and SGA differs according to maternal education, maternal mental distress or maternal smoking.
Using data from the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) Study (N = 5,238) and the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS) (N = 16,301) analyses were performed to examine the association between prenatal alcohol exposure and PTB and SGA, respectively.
No association was found between any level of prenatal alcohol exposure (non-daily, daily, non-abstaining) and SGA. The offspring of daily drinkers and non-abstainers had a lower risk of PTB [ABCD: odds ratio (OR) 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13, 0.77; KiGGS: OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.57, 0.99]. Interactions with maternal education, maternal distress or maternal smoking were not significant.
Although these results should be interpreted with caution, both studies showed no adverse effects of low-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure on PTB and SGA, not even in the offspring of women who were disadvantaged in terms of low education, high levels of distress, or smoking during pregnancy.
Source: Preterm birth and small for gestational age in relation to alcohol consumption during pregnancy: stronger associations among vulnerable women? Pfinder M; Kunst AE; Feldmann R; van Eijsden M; Vrijkotte TG BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth Vol 13, Art No 49, 2013, 10pp.