Page last updated: June 27, 2018
Alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy and the effect on fetal growth

Researchers from Denmark assessed the potential effect of binge drinking and different drinking patterns (timing and number of binge drinking episodes) in early pregnancy on fetal growth estimated by birthweight and birth length.

Alcohol binge drinking is common in early pregnancy and is a well-established risk factor for subsequent child health, yet very few studies have investigated the effect on fetal growth. Furthermore it has also been speculated whether the timing of binge drinking is a determining factor for neonatal growth.

From March 1 to August 31 2000, 1,836 pregnant Danish women from Aarhus University Hospital and Fredericia Hospital were included in the study and interviewed around the early second trimester about their drinking habits during their pregnancy. Information on anthropometric measures at birth was obtained from the Danish Medical Birth Registry. The potential effect of binge drinking and different drinking patterns was estimated using a multivariate general linear model adjusted for potential confounders.

The women who reported any binge drinking gave birth to children with a reduction in birth length of -0.02 cm (95% CI; -0.23-0.18) and an increase in birthweight of 0.2 g (95% CI; -42.8-43.2). Number of binge episodes and timing of these episodes were not associated with fetal growth.

The study suggests that binge drinking and different drinking patterns in early pregnancy do not affect fetal growth.

Source: Alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy and the effect on fetal growth: A cohort study. Slavensky JA, Kesmodel US. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2018 Feb 12. doi: 10.1111/aogs.13329.

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