Background and aims Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with several adverse outcomes for the developing child, of which fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most well-known. In The Netherlands it is recommended not to drink any alcohol while pregnant. Our objective was to describe the prevalence and pattern of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in the Netherlands.
Methods In 2007 and 2010 we undertook two nation-wide surveys amongst mothers who brought their infant aged ≤6 months to a well-baby clinic. Survey-data were weighted for educational attainments to represent national figures.
Results In 2007 data were obtained from 2768 and in 2010 from 1448 women. Between 2007 and 2010, the frequency of drinking did not increase, but the amount per occasion did. Overall, 21% of women reported that they had drunk alcohol during pregnancy. Of women who drank alcohol during the first 3 months, 25% reported 1–3 drinking occasions per month; 7% reported weekly intake, and 0.5% reported daily intake of alcohol. Binge drinking (≥6 drinks/occasion) while pregnant was reported by 8%. In 2007, 53% had <1, 40% had 1–3, and 7% had ≥3 drinks/occasion. In 2010 this was respectively 4%, 83%, and 13%. As compared to the first three months, in the last six months of pregnancy alcohol intake was somewhat less.
Alcohol consumption in pregnancy was more prevalent amongst older (≥35 years of age), higher educated women, and amongst women who reported that they had smoked tobacco products while pregnant (adj. OR 2.06; 95% CI 1.51–2.73).
Conclusions Despite current recommendations, in 2007 and 2010, 21% of Dutch women drank alcohol while pregnant.