Alcohol Drinking Pattern During Pregnancy and Risk of Infant Mortality

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Background:The safety of small amounts of alcohol drinking and occasional binge-level drinking during pregnancy remains unsettled. We examined the association of maternal average alcohol intake and binge drinking (≥5 drinks per sitting) with infant mortality, both in the neonatal and postneonatal period.Methods:Participants were 79,216 mothers who were enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort in 1996–2002, gave birth to a live-born singleton, and provided information while they were pregnant on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Information on infant mortality and causes of death was obtained from national registries and medical records.Results:During the first year of life, 279 children (0.35%) died, 204 during the neonatal period. Infant mortality was not associated with alcohol drinking, even at a consumption level of either 4+ drinks per week or 3+ occasions of binge drinking. Postneonatal mortality was associated with an intake of 4+ drinks per week (hazard ratio = 3.56 [95% confidence interval = 1.15–8.43]) and with 3+ binge episodes (2.69 [1.27–5.69]). When restricting analyses to term births, both infant mortality and postneonatal mortality were associated with a weekly average intake of 4+ drinks or 3+ binge episodes.Conclusions:Among term infants, intake of at least 4 drinks of alcohol per week or binging on 3 or more occasions during pregnancy are associated with an increased risk of infant mortality, especially during the postneonatal period.

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