Moderate alcohol intake during pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth and death in the first year of life

Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Feb 15;155(4):305-12. doi: 10.1093/aje/155.4.305.


The authors evaluated the association between alcohol intake during pregnancy and risk of stillbirth and infant death in a cohort of pregnant women receiving routine antenatal care at Aarhus University Hospital (Aarhus, Denmark) between 1989 and 1996. Prospective information on alcohol intake, other lifestyle factors, maternal characteristics, and obstetric risk factors was obtained from self-administered questionnaires and hospital files, and 24,768 singleton pregnancies were included in the analyses (116 stillbirths, 119 infant deaths). The risk ratio for stillbirth among women who consumed > or =5 drinks/week during pregnancy was 2.96 (95% confidence interval: 1.37, 6.41) as compared with women who consumed <1 drink/week. Adjustment for smoking habits, caffeine intake, age, prepregnancy body mass index, marital status, occupational status, education, parity, and sex of the child did not change the conclusions, nor did restriction of the highest intake group to women who consumed 5-14 drinks/week (risk ratio = 3.13, 95% confidence interval: 1.45, 6.77). The rate of stillbirth due to fetoplacental dysfunction increased across alcohol categories, from 1.37 per 1,000 births for women consuming <1 drink/week to 8.83 per 1,000 births for women consuming > or = 5 drinks/week. The increased risk could not be attributed to the effect of alcohol on the risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery, or malformations. There was little if any association between alcohol intake and infant death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Style
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors