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Matern Child Health J. 2011 Jul;15(5):670-6. doi: 10.1007/s10995-010-0615-6.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and risk of placental abruption and placenta previa.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the association between prenatal alcohol consumption and the occurrence of placental abruption and placenta previa in a population-based sample. We used linked birth data files to conduct a retrospective cohort study of singleton deliveries in the state of Missouri during the period 1989 through 2005 (n = 1,221,310). The main outcomes of interest were placenta previa, placental abruption and a composite outcome defined as the occurrence of either or both lesions. Multivariate logistic regression was used to generate adjusted odd ratios, with non-drinking mothers as the referent category. Women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy had a 33% greater likelihood for placental abruption during pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.33 [1.16-1.54]). No association was observed between prenatal alcohol use and the risk of placenta previa. Alcohol consumption in pregnancy was positively related to the occurrence of either or both placental conditions (adjusted OR [95% CI] = 1.29 [1.14-1.45]). Mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy were at elevated risk of experiencing placental abruption, but not placenta previa. Our findings underscore the need for screening and behavioral counseling interventions to combat alcohol use by pregnant women and women of childbearing age.

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