Alcohol Consumption during Initial Weeks of Pregnancy Increases Risk of Miscarriage, Study Suggests

Nov, 2020 - By WMR

Alcohol Consumption during Initial Weeks of Pregnancy Increases Risk of Miscarriage, Study Suggests

According to new study by the researchers of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) reported that if a woman intakes alcohol during first trimester (especially first five to 10 weeks of pregnancy) there is 8% increase in risk of miscarriage. The researchers in this study examined the timing, amount, and type of alcohol consumed during pregnancy and how these factors are associated with high miscarriage risk before 20 weeks' gestation.

Moreover, researchers suggested that impact of alcohol consumption increases within the ninth week of pregnancy, and risk accumulates further, whether a woman is consuming less than one drink or over four drinks each week. The risk does not vary with the type of alcohol consumed and whether the woman had incidents of excessive drinking. Researchers involved 5,353 women for the analysis and 50% of them reported of consuming alcohol during conception and in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Researchers also suggested that median gestational age for discontinuing alcohol consumption was 29 days. Moreover, 41% of women stopped alcohol use within 3 days of a positive pregnancy test, along with those who stopped consumption after missed period exhibited 37% increased risk of miscarriage, in comparison to women who did not consume alcohol.

Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD, vice president for Research Integration at VUMC stated, “Abstaining from alcohol around conception or during pregnancy has long been advised for many reasons, including preventing fetal alcohol syndrome. Nonetheless, modest levels of consumption are often seen as likely to be safe. For this reason, our findings are alarming. Levels of use that women, and some care providers, may believe are responsible are harmful, and no amount can be suggested as safe regarding pregnancy loss.”

Researchers also reported that biologically, there is insufficient information on how alcohol causes harm during early pregnancy, but there are chances that alcohol consumption propels miscarriage risk by altering hormone patterns, modifying the quality of implantation, and by increasing oxidative stress.

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