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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3041.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #112265

Trends in alcohol use among pregnant women: Urban Western Washington, 1987-2004

Therese M. Grant, PhD, Janet Huggins, PhD, Ann P. Streissguth, PhD, Cara C. Ernst, MA, and Helen M. Barr, MA, MS. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, 180 Nickerson St., Suite 309, Seattle, WA 98109-1631, 206 543-7155, jhuggins@u.washington.edu

Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy puts children at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a permanent birth defect and a major preventable cause of mental retardation. At four time periods between 1987 and 2004, we used a one-page questionnaire to assess trends in self-reported use of alcohol during and prior to pregnancy. Postpartum women were screened on hospital delivery floors in urban Western Washington (N = 13,429). Over the 17 years, report of “any alcohol” use prior to pregnancy dropped from 53.3% to 43.0%, but “binge” drinking (> 5 drinks/occasion) increased from 10.4% to 14.1%. We observed a large drop in reported alcohol use during pregnancy: “any alcohol” use decreased by 71.6% (44.0% to 12.5%) and “binge” use by 59.1% (4.4% to 1.8%). Compared to 1987, our state data indicate that when women become pregnant now they are more likely to stop drinking, and less likely to binge drink. Public health education about drinking during pregnancy has clearly had an impact. However, the nearly 2% pregnancy binge drinking rate in Western Washington and nationally (2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) is concerning, given that these women are at highest risk for having children with FASDs. The data also point to a group at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy: women who binge drink, have an unintended pregnancy, and continue drinking prior to pregnancy recognition. FASDs are preventable only if screening and intervention target women most at risk.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Does Maternal Risk Predict Pregnancy Outcomes?

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA