Objective: To assess if alcohol drinking is a risk factor for small for gestational age (SGA) birth.
Methods: Case-control study. Cases were 555 women (mean age 31 years, range 16-43) who delivered SGA babies at the Clinica Luigi Mangiagalli and the Obstetric and Gynecology Clinic of the University of Verona. The controls were 1966 women (mean age 31 years, range 14-43) who gave birth at term (> or =37 weeks of gestation) to healthy infants of normal weight at the hospitals where cases had been identified.
Results: No increase in the risk of SGA birth was observed in women drinking one or two drinks/day in pregnancy, but three or more per day increased the risk: odds ratios (OR) were 3.2 (1.7-6.2) for > or =3 drinks during the first trimester, 2.7 (1.4-5.3) during the second and 2.9 (1.5-5.7) during the third.
Conclusions: The study shows an increased risk of SGA births in mothers who drink > or =3 units/day of alcohol in pregnancy.
Published online 22 February 2006.