Heavy maternal alcohol consumption during early pregnancy increases the risk of oral clefts, but little is known about how genetic variation in alcohol metabolism affects this association. Variants in the alcohol dehydrogenase 1C (ADH1C) gene may modify the association between alcohol and clefts. In a population-based case-control study carried out in Norway (1996-2001), the authors examined the association between maternal alcohol consumption and risk of oral clefts according to mother and infant ADH1C haplotypes encoding fast or slow alcohol-metabolizing phenotypes. Subjects were 483 infants with oral cleft malformations and 503 control infants and their mothers, randomly selected from all other livebirths taking place during the same period. Mothers who consumed 5 or more alcoholic drinks per sitting during the first trimester of pregnancy had an elevated risk of oral cleft in their offspring (odds ratio (OR) = 2.6, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4, 4.7). This increased risk was evident only in mothers or children who carried the ADH1C haplotype associated with reduced alcohol metabolism (OR= 3.0, 95% CI: 1.4, 6.8). There was no evidence of alcohol-related risk when both mother and infant carried only the rapid-metabolism ADH1C variant (OR = 0.9, 95% CI: 0.2, 4.1). The teratogenic effect of alcohol may depend on the genetic capacity of the mother and fetus to metabolize alcohol.

06 May 2014 In Pregnant Women

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether light drinking in pregnancy is associated with adverse child mental health and academic outcomes.

DESIGN: Using data from the prospective, population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we investigated the associations between light drinking in pregnancy (/=1 glass per week of alcohol during the first trimester (45% abstaining). After adjustment, relative to abstainers, there was no effect of light drinking on teacher-rated SDQ scores or examination results. In girls, although there was a suggestion of worse outcomes (adjusted regression coefficient=0.38; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.74) on the parent-rated total SDQ score in those exposed to light drinking compared to abstainers, no dose-response relationship was evident.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the pattern of findings involving parent ratings for girls exposed to light drinking is consistent with earlier findings from this cohort, the overall lack of any adverse effects of light drinking is similar to findings from other recent cohort studies. Light drinking in pregnancy does not appear to be associated with clinically important adverse effects for mental health and academic outcomes at the age of 11 years.

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