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Measuring baseline level of excessive alcohol intake in pregnancy in the WoS

Date: March 2012
Category: Report
Work programme: Understanding Glasgow
Author: David Tappin, Helen Mactier, David Stone, David Aitken, Jenny Crossley, Roy Sherwood, Deborah Shipton

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The aim of this pilot study was to test the utility of a two assay system (CDT and EtG) in determining the baseline prevalence of heavy alcohol consumption in a pregnant population in the West of Scotland. 


Key Findings

Based on the levels of Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) – a biomarker of chronic alcohol use – approximately 5% of the study sample of pregnant women had results suggestive of recent hazardous alcohol use. This is in-line with the estimated prevalence figures. Ethyl Glucuronide – a biomarker of acute alcohol use – could not be detected, possibly related to the age of the samples (4 to 5 years old).

These results suggest that CDT, but not EtG could be used in a larger, representative study to determine baseline hazardous alcohol consumption in pregnant women at a population level. 

Find out more about our alcohol research.