Trends in alcohol consumption by pregnant women. 1985 through 1988

JAMA. 1991 Feb 20;265(7):876-9.


To examine trends in alcohol consumption among pregnant women, we examined data collected from 21 states participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 4 consecutive years: 1985 through 1988. Overall, 429 (25%) of 1712 pregnant women and 19,903 (55%) of 36,057 nonpregnant women 18 to 45 years of age reported using alcohol in the previous month. Pregnant women who used any alcohol reported consuming a median of four drinks per month, whereas nonpregnant women who used any alcohol reported nine. The prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant women declined steadily, from 32% in 1985 to 20% in 1988, but the median number of drinks per month for pregnant women who drank did not change. No decline was observed among the less educated or those under the age of 25 years. In 1988, the prevalence of alcohol use among pregnant women remained highest among smokers (37%) and the unmarried (28%). Although the overall consumption of alcohol by pregnant women in the United States appears to be declining, special efforts are needed to reduce alcohol use among pregnant women who are smokers, unmarried, less educated, or younger, women who may already be at high risk of a poor pregnancy outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology