Clinical Edge

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Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies in US

Study reveals adverse reproductive outcomes

Alcohol use in pregnancy was associated with low birthweight, preterm birth, birth defects, and developmental disabilities, and women of reproductive age should be informed of the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy. This according to analyzed data from the 2011-2013 National Survey of Family Growth which generated US prevalence estimates of risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy for 4,303 nonpregnant, nonsterile women aged 15 to 44 years. Researchers found:

• The weighted prevalence of alcohol-exposed pregnancy was 7.3%.

• During a 1-month period, approximately 3.3 million women in the US were at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy.

• Contraception should be recommended, as appropriate for women who do not want to become pregnant.

• Women wanting a pregnancy should be advised to stop drinking at the same time contraception is discontinued.

• Healthcare providers should advise women not to drink at all if they are pregnant or there is any chance they might be pregnant.

• Alcohol misuse screening and behavioral counseling is recommended for all adults in primary care, including reproductive-aged and pregnant women, as an evidence-based approach to reducing alcohol consumption among persons who consume alcohol in excess of the recommended guidelines.

Citation: Green PP, McKnight-Eily LR, Tan CH, Mejia R, Denny CH. Vital signs: Alcohol-exposed pregnancies — United States, 2011–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:91–97. doi: