August 8, 2020
Miscarriage Risk Increases Each Week Alcohol is Used in Early Pregnancy
Each week in which a woman consumes alcohol during the first five to ten weeks of pregnancy contributes an incremental 8% increase in relative risk of miscarriage, according to a study published recently by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers.
The findings featured in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, examine the timing, amount, and type of alcohol use during pregnancy, and how this relates to miscarriage risk miscarriage before 20 weeks’ gestation. Impact of alcohol use rises through the ninth week, and risk accrues regardless of whether a woman reported fewer than one drink or more than four drinks each week. Risk is independent of type of alcohol and whether the woman had episodes of binge drinking in the first 20 weeks.
Though most women change alcohol use after a positive pregnancy test, consuming alcohol before recognizing a pregnancy occurs often among both those planning a pregnancy and those with an unintended pregnancy. Half of 5,353 women included in the analysis, reported alcohol use around conception and during the first weeks of pregnancy.
“Abstaining from alcohol around conception or during pregnancy has long been advised for many reasons, including preventing fetal alcohol syndrome. Nonetheless, modest consumption is often believed to be safe.” said Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD, Vice President for Research Integration, and Right from the Start principal investigator. She notes, “for this reason our findings are alarming. Levels of use that women, and some care providers, may believe are ‘responsible’ are harmful and no amount can be suggested as safe with regard to pregnancy loss.” Get the Full Release
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants HD043883, HD049675, HD094345, GM07347 and TR000445, UL1TR002243), the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, and follow-up is sustained by a VUMC endowment.
Media Contact Craig Boerner • Vanderbilt University Medical Center News & Communication
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