Persistent consumption of alcohol in early pregnancy steadily increases the risk of miscarriage

The persistent consumption of alcohol during the first five to 10 weeks of pregnancy steadily increases the risk of miscarriage by as much as 8 percent each week, new research suggests.

According to a research group at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), the new study aimed at evaluating the “association between week-by-week alcohol consumption in early pregnancy and spontaneous abortion.”

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, included more than 5,000 US-based female participants, almost half of which reported consuming alcohol during the early stages of pregnancy. 12 percent reported a miscarriage.

“In the first trimester, participants provided information about alcohol consumed in the prior 4 months, including whether they altered alcohol use; date of change in use; and frequency, amount, and type of alcohol consumed before and after change,” Alexandra Sundermann, and her colleagues, explained in their findings.

“We assessed the association between spontaneous abortion and week of alcohol use, cumulative weeks exposed, number of drinks per week, beverage type, and binge drinking.”

Based on the findings, researchers concluded that alcohol consumption during the fifth through the 10th week from the last menstrual period was linked to an increase in spontaneous abortion risk. The risk was at its highest in week nine.

“Each additional week of alcohol exposure during the first trimester increases risk of spontaneous abortion, even at low levels of consumption and when excluding binge drinking,” the co-authors concluded in the findings.

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