Objectives Despite potential health risks for women and children, one in five women report alcohol use during pregnancy and a significant proportion of those who quit during pregnancy return to drinking post-delivery. This study seeks to understand the longitudinal patterns of alcohol consumption before, during pregnancy and post-delivery, and the role of maternal characteristics for purposes of informing prevention design. Methods General growth mixture models were used to describe the average developmental patterns of maternal weekly drinking quantity at six time points, from preconception through child entering kindergarten, as well as heterogeneity in these patterns among 9100 mothers from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study representing the 2001 US national birth cohort. Results Four distinct classes of mothers were defined by their longitudinal alcohol consumption patterns: Low Probability Drinkers (50.3 %), Escalating Risk Drinkers (12.0 %), Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (27.4 %), and Early Parenting Quitters (10.2 %). Heterogeneous covariate associations were observed. For example, mothers who gave birth after age 36 were twice as likely to be Escalating Risk Drinkers and Escalating Low Risk Drinkers (vs Low Probability Drinkers), but not more likely to be Early Parenting Quitters, when compared to mothers who gave birth between the ages of 26 and 35. Conclusions for practice There is significant heterogeneity in maternal longitudinal alcohol use patterns during the perinatal period. Baseline maternal characteristics and behavior associated with these heterogeneous patterns provide valuable tools to identify potential risky drinkers during this critical time period and may be synthesized to tailor pre- and postnatal clinical counseling protocols.
- Alcohol use
- Maternal drinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health