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Behavioural change in relation to alcohol exposure in early pregnancy and impact on perinatal outcomes: A prospective cohort study

Murphy, D.J., Mullally, A., Cleary, B.J., et al. – 2013

Report of an Irish study on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Presents background on the problem and summarizes methodology of the study, which focused on drinking during pre-conception and early pregnancy. Maternal behavior and perinatal outcomes were measured. A large majority of the mothers reported drinking during the three months prior to pregnancy. Characteristics of women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy include older maternal age, Irish nationality, smoking, and illicit drug use. The infants of mothers who drank during pregnancy had an increased risk for intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR). Other risk factors for negative infant outcomes include smoking, extremes of maternal age, and non-Irish country of origin. The risk for IUGR was highest in mothers who both smoke and drank, particularly among those who reported excessive or binge drinking combined with smoking. Discusses the importance of early identification and intervention for high-risk women. Also notes the need for public awareness campaigns to emphasize the dangers of drinking and smoking during pregnancy.