Hazardous alcohol users during pregnancy

Hazardous alcohol users during pregnancy: Psychiatric and personality traits.

Background; We examined alcohol use disorders, psychiatric symptoms and personality traits in women reporting alcohol use during pregnancy.

Methods; In a pilot cohort (n = 139), subjects were screened for alcohol use disorders, and assessed for psychopathology, personality traits, and alcohol use during the first trimester. Those reporting consumption exceeding a conservative threshold for harmful use were offered a diagnostic psychiatric interview. The main findings of the pilot study were replicated using a large sample of women in the third trimester (n = 715), who were screened for alcohol use disorders, had their consumption during pregnancy assessed, and were assessed for personality traits.

Results; In the pilot cohort, only a minority of women who consumed significant amounts of alcohol during pregnancy fulfilled alcohol dependence criteria, or had scores on the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test typically associated with such a diagnosis. Psychiatric morbidity was also unremarkable as assessed by self-reported symptom intensity. The distinguishing feature was high novelty seeking. The results were robustly confirmed in the replication study.

Conclusions; Most women with significant alcohol consumption during pregnancy do not seem to be alcohol dependent. Instead, use during pregnancy may reflect impulsive personality traits, and be correlated with additional risk behaviors.

Research; Åsa Magnusson, Mona Göransson and Markus Heilig, Hazardous alcohol users during pregnancy: Psychiatric health and personality traits. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 89, Issues 2-3, 10 July 2007, Pages 275-281

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