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Racial/Ethnic Disparity in Association Between Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Alcohol Intake During Pregnancy: Multisite Retrospective Cohort Study

 Sarah Soyeon Oh  ;  Bada Kang  ;  Jewel Park  ;  SangMin Kim  ;  Eun-Cheol Park  ;  Seung Hee Lee  ;  Ichiro Kawachi 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects ; Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology ; Cohort Studies ; Ethanol ; Female ; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders* / epidemiology ; Humans ; Infant ; Infant, Newborn ; Longitudinal Studies ; Pregnancy ; Pregnancy Complications* ; Premature Birth* ; Retrospective Studies ; United States / epidemiology ; White
alcohol intake ; ethnic disparity ; fetal alcohol syndrome ; fetal health ; health disparity ; minority population ; pediatrics ; pregnancy ; public health ; vulnerable population ; women's health
Background: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with a range of adverse birth-related outcomes, including stillbirth, low birth weight, preterm birth, and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). With more than 10% of women consuming alcohol during pregnancy worldwide, it is increasingly important to understand how racial/ethnic variations affect FAS onset. However, whether race and ethnicity inform FAS risk assessment when daily ethanol intake is controlled for remains unknown.

Objective: This study aimed to assess racial/ethnic disparities in FAS risk associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Methods: We used data from a longitudinal cohort study (the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) at 5 hospital sites around the United States of 595 women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy from 2007 to 2017. Questionnaires, in-person interviews, and reviews of medical, legal, and social service records were used to gather data on average alcoholic content (AAC) during pregnancy. Self-reports of maternal race (American Indian/Alaska Native [AI/AN], Asian, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Black or African American, White, more than one race, and other) and ethnicity (Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic/Latino), as well as FAS diagnoses based on standardized dysmorphological criteria, were used for analysis. Log-binomial regression was used to examine the risk of FAS associated with each 1-gram increase in ethanol consumption during pregnancy, stratified by race/ethnicity.

Results: A total of 3.4% (20/595) of women who reported consuming alcohol during pregnancy gave birth to a baby with FAS. Women who gave birth to a baby with FAS had a mean AAC of 32.06 (SD 9.09) grams, which was higher than that of women who did not give birth to a baby with FAS (mean 12.07, SD 15.87 grams). AI/AN mothers with FAS babies had the highest AAC (mean 42.62, SD 8.35 grams), followed by White (mean 30.13, SD 4.88 grams) and Black mothers (mean 27.05, SD 12.78 grams). White (prevalence ratio [PR] 1.10, 95% CI 1.03-1.19), Black (PR 1.13, 95% CI 1.04-1.23), and AI/AN (PR 1.10, 95% CI 1.00-1.21) mothers had 10% to 13% increased odds of giving birth to a baby with FAS given the same exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Regardless of race, a 1-gram increase in AAC resulted in a 4% increase (PR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02-1.07) in the chance of giving birth to a baby with ≥2 facial anomalies (ie, short palpebral fissures, thin vermilion border of the upper lip, and smooth philtrum) and a 4% increase (PR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.07) in the chance of deficient brain growth.

Conclusions: The risk of delivering a baby with FAS was comparable among White, Black, and AI/AN women at similar levels of drinking during pregnancy. Regardless of race, a 1-gram increase in AAC resulted in increased odds of giving birth to a baby with facial anomalies or deficient brain growth.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
3. College of Nursing (간호대학) > Dept. of Nursing (간호학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kang, Bada(강바다)
Park, Eun-Cheol(박은철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2306-5398
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