Geographic and Maternal Characteristics Associated with Alcohol Use in Pregnancy
Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
Copyright © 2011 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 35, Issue 7, pages 1230–1237, July 2011
How to Cite
Burns, L., Black, E., Powers, J. R., Loxton, D., Elliott, E., Shakeshaft, A. and Dunlop, A. (2011), Geographic and Maternal Characteristics Associated with Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 35: 1230–1237. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01457.x
- Issue published online: 15 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2011
- Received for publication May 21, 2010; accepted December 1, 2010.
- Alcohol Use
Background: To date, no studies have used population-level data to investigate whether maternal location of residence (metropolitan vs. regional/remote populations) is associated with alcohol use in pregnancy. This information has important implications for appropriate service provision.
Methods: Information on all live births in New South Wales Australia was linked to records of alcohol-related admissions for mothers of these births over a 6-year period (2000 to 2006). Cases were women who had at least 1 alcohol-related hospital admission during pregnancy or at birth. Controls were women who had at least 1 live birth over that same time period but no alcohol-related hospital admissions during that time. Admissions were considered to be alcohol-related based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) code. Demographic, obstetric, and neonatal variables were compared.
Results: A total of 417,464 singleton birth records were analyzed, 488 of which were coded positive for at least 1 alcohol-related ICD-10-AM diagnosis. Characteristics associated with alcohol-related admissions in pregnancy were residence in a remote/very remote area, being Australian-born, having had a previous pregnancy, smoking in the current pregnancy, and presenting late to antenatal care. Alcohol-exposed pregnancies were associated with a range of poor obstetric and neonatal outcomes, with no geographic differences noted. However, women in regional/remote areas were less likely to attend specialist obstetric hospitals.
Conclusions: This study shows the need for standardized screening programs for alcohol use in pregnancy and where problematic use is detected, for clear clinical guidelines on management and referral.