Paternal drinking, intimate relationship quality, and alcohol consumption in pregnant Ukrainian women. Academic Article uri icon


  • Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) represent a significant public health problem. The influence of the male partner's alcohol consumption patterns and the quality of the partner's intimate relationship might be important factors to consider in the design of successful FASD prevention programs.As part of the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, 166 pregnant women in two regions in Ukraine participated in an in-person interview at an average gestational age of 18-19 weeks. Subjects were classified cross-sectionally as abstainers/light drinkers (n = 80), defined as low or no consumption of alcohol in the periconceptional period and none in the most recent 2 weeks of pregnancy; discontinuers (n = 43), defined as moderate to heavy alcohol use in the periconceptional period but none during the most recent 2 weeks of pregnancy; or continuing drinkers (n = 43), defined as continued moderate to heavy alcohol use within the most recent 2 weeks of pregnancy. Women also reported on their partner's drinking behavior and on the quality of their intimate relationship.Heavy paternal drinking was significantly associated with both continuing maternal drinking in the most recent 2 weeks (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 34.1; 95% CI [5.9, 195.8]) and being a risky drinker only around conception (adjusted OR = 27.0; 95% CI [5.0, 147.7]). In addition, women who consumed alcohol during pregnancy had lower mean scores for satisfaction with partners' relationship and ability to discuss problems (p < .05) compared with light drinkers/abstainers.This study suggests that development of partner-based interventions, as opposed to those solely focused on maternal drinking, might be warranted as a strategy to prevent FASD.

publication date

  • July 2011