The partners’ role in determining the alcohol consumption behavior of pregnant women is not well studied. We measured alcohol use before and during pregnancy in pregnant women and their partners to evaluate the correlation in their levels of consumption.
We evaluated the self-reported alcohol use of 14,822 women and their partners during 21,472 singleton pregnancies delivered in Kuopio University Hospital, Finland during the period 2009 2018. The information was gathered during pregnancy and at the time of childbirth and recorded in two databases that were merged to yield a single cohort. Missing data were accounted for by multiple imputation using the predictive mean matching method. Results: In 86% of the pregnancies, women reported alcohol use before pregnancy, whereas in 4.5% of the pregnancies women reported alcohol use during pregnancy. In contrast, no decrease was detected in their partners’ alcohol use before or during pregnancy. In 26% of the pregnancies, the woman reported stopping alcohol use only after recognizing that she was pregnant. Before pregnancy, there were strong correlations between the pregnant women and their partners in the total Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test score (rs = 0.69, p < 0.0001) and the self-reported average weekly amount of alcohol consumed (rs = 0.56, p < 0.0001). During pregnancy, there were weak correlations between the pregnant women and their partners in the frequency of drinking (rs = 0.20, p < 0.0001) and the average weekly amount of alcohol consumed (rs = 0.18, p < 0.0001).
The self-reported alcohol consumption of pregnant women and their partners was positively correlated both before and during pregnancy, though the correlation declined substantially during pregnancy. Evaluating the alcohol consumption of both parents before pregnancy could assist in identifying women at risk of prenatal alcohol exposure. Supporting a reduction in partners’ alcohol use could help to reduce pregnant women’s alcohol consumption and prevent its associated harms.