Voutilainen, T., Rysä, J., Keski-Nisula, L. & Kärkkäinen, O. (2022) Self-reported alcohol consumption of pregnant women and their partners correlates both before and during pregnancy: A cohort study with 21,472 singleton pregnancies. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 46, 797- 808. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.14806
Pregnant women’s use of alcohol correlates with that of their partner, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital shows. Paying attention to both parents’ use of alcohol may help to prevent drinking during pregnancy, as well as fetal exposure to the adverse effects of alcohol.
Exposure to alcohol is detrimental to fetal development, and there is no known safe limit of exposure. The harmful effects of alcohol may manifest during the child’s development and growth in many ways. The risk of alcohol use during pregnancy has previously been assessed mainly on the basis of the expectant mother’s previous use of alcohol, but not on the basis of their partner’s drinking habits.
The new study looked at the alcohol consumption of 14,822 Finnish women and their partners before and during pregnancy. The study covered a total of 21,472 pregnancies between 2009 and 2018.
In 86% of the pregnancies, the expectant mother reported having used alcohol before pregnancy, and 4.5% also during pregnancy. In 25% of the pregnancies, women reported that they had stopped drinking only after learning about their pregnancy, which means that the fetus may have been exposed to alcohol in the early stages of pregnancy. However, partners generally did not reduce their alcohol consumption before or during pregnancy.
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