Prevalence and Pattern of Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy in the Netherlands

Caren I. Lanting; Paula van Dommelen; Karin M. van der Pal-de Bruin; Jack Bennebroek Gravenhorst; Jacobus P. van Wouwe


BMC Public Health. 2015;15(723) 

In This Article


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in the Netherlands in 2007 and 2010.

Method: During two identical, nation-wide surveys in 2007 and 2010, questionnaires were handed out to mothers of infants aged ≤6 months who visited a Well-Baby Clinic. By means of the questionnaire mothers were, in addition to questions on infant feeding practices and background variables, asked about their alcohol consumption before, during and after pregnancy. Logistic regression analyses were used to look into relationships of alcohol consumption with maternal and infant characteristics.

Results: We obtained 2,715 questionnaires in 2007, and 1,410 in 2010. Within 6 months before pregnancy, 69 % of women consumed alcohol (data from 2010). During pregnancy 22 % consumed alcohol in 2007, 19 % in 2010. During the first three months of pregnancy, 17 % (2007) and 14 % (2010) of mothers consumed alcohol. Alcohol consumption was mainly one glass (~10 g alcohol) on less than one occasion per month. Compared to 2007, in 2010 more women consumed 1–3 or >3 glasses alcohol per occasion (resp. 11 % to 7 % and 1.4 to 0.7 %). Older women and those with a higher education consumed more alcohol, as did smokers. Birth weight, gestational age and weight for gestational age were not associated with alcohol consumption. In 2007 and 2010, 2.5 % resp. 2.4 % of pregnant women both smoked and consumed alcohol; resp. 70 % and 75 % did neither.

Conclusion: In contrast to Dutch guidelines which advice to completely abstain from alcohol, one in five women in the Netherlands consume alcohol during pregnancy.