March 07, 2013
1 min read

Infant mortality risk increased with maternal alcohol consumption

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Maternal alcohol-use disorder is a significant risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome and infant mortality not classified as sudden infant death syndrome, according to recently published findings.

The cohort study consisted of at-risk women (n=21,841) with a birth recorded on the Western Australian Midwives’ Notification Systems between 1983 and 2005, and all of their offspring whose births are recorded on the Midwives’ Notification Systems. Comparison mothers (n=56,054) with an alcohol diagnosis were frequency matched to exposed mothers. There were 77,895 live births registered in the study.

Cases of SIDS (n=303) and non-SIDS-related infant mortality (n=598) were identified through linkage with the Western Australian Mortality Register.

Researchers said the highest risk for SIDS occurred when a maternal alcohol diagnosis was recorded during pregnancy (HR=6.92; 95% CI, 4.02-11.90) or within 1 year after pregnancy (HR=8.61; 95% CI, 5.04-14.69). An alcohol diagnosis recorded during pregnancy more than doubled the risk for infant deaths not classified as SIDS (HR=2.35; 95% CI, 1.45-3.83).

Researchers also found that maternal alcohol-use disorder is accountable for at least 16.41% of SIDs and 3.4% of non-SIDS-related infant deaths.

“The presences of a maternal alcohol diagnosis during pregnancy, indicating heavy prenatal alcohol exposure, increased the risk of SIDS by sevenfold,” Colleen M. O’Leary, BSc, MPH, PhD, of Curtin University in Bentley, Western Australia, and colleagues wrote. “The results also indicate that maternal alcohol-use disorder is acting as an environmental risk factor with an eightfold increased risk for the children of mothers who had an alcohol diagnosis within 1 year after pregnancy but not during pregnancy and increased risk for each of the other exposure groups.”

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.