It is accepted that blood phosphatidylethanol (PEth) concentrations are reliable biomarkers of ethanol (alcohol) exposure. We therefore conducted a preliminary study to test the hypothesis that elevated blood PEth concentrations can help to identifying women with prenatal alcohol exposure who are at higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The study included 35 first-trimester pregnant women who self-reported alcohol ingestion and had PEth blood concentration ≥4. nM at recruitment. As a control group, 233 first-trimester pregnant women who self-reported as being either abstainers or light alcohol drinkers and had blood PEth concentrations <4. nM, were also included. All participants were followed up until completion of their pregnancies. Women with prenatal alcohol exposure and PEth concentrations ≥4. nM had a risk ratio of spontaneous abortions of 3.21 (95%CI 0.93-11.06; P= 0.074). Because of the potential implications in the prenatal care of women reporting risky alcohol exposure, the preliminary results from the present study indicate the need for testing the hypothesis in a more definitive approach.
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