Racial disparities in pregnancy-related drinking reduction

Leigh E. Tenkku, Daniel S. Morris, Joanne Salas, Pamela K. Xaverius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the likelihood that women of different racial and ethnic groups would reduce their alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Methods: Data came from 22 states participating in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System from 2001 to 2005. After stratifying the sample by preconception drinking level, logistic regressions were used to predict drinking reduction and cessation by the third trimester by race, controlling for age, education, marital status, Medicaid status, pregnancy intention, smoking status, and state. Results: Overall, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women were all significantly less likely than White women to reduce their heavy drinking after becoming pregnant. American Indian/Alaskan Native women who were moderate drinkers before conception were over 2 times more likely than White women to reduce drinking after becoming pregnant (OR 2.19, CI 0.71, 6.76), although this difference was non-significant (P = .17). Among those who binge drank in the months before pregnancy, compared to White women, Black (OR 0.26, CI 0.17-0.39), Hispanic (OR 0.19, CI 0.12-0.29), American Indian/Alaskan Native (OR 0.44 CI 0.20, 0.96), and Asian/Pacific Islander women (OR 0.11, CI 0.06-0.22) were all less likely to quit binge drinking while pregnant. Conclusion: Significant racial differences in pregnancy-related drinking reduction are evident, and may help explain racial disparities in FAS. Results suggest that more targeted efforts are needed to meet the national goals of preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)604-613
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Alcohol-exposed pregnancy
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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