Periconceptional binge drinking and acculturation among pregnant Latinas in New Mexico. Academic Article uri icon


  • Binge drinking during pregnancy might lead to the development of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in the offspring. Latinas are often considered a low-risk group for alcohol abuse, although recent reports indicate that the prevalence of alcohol consumption in this group is increasing due to changing cultural norms. The predictors of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among Latinas are largely unknown. We explored predictors of periconceptional drinking among Latinas (n=155) recruited into an ongoing cohort study at the University of New Mexico. Women were interviewed by a bilingual trained interviewer about any episodes of binge drinking (>or=4 drinks/occasion) a month around their last menstrual period (LMP) and were administered a TWEAK questionnaire. Sociodemographic, lifestyle, and reproductive health characteristics were also ascertained. Predictors of binge drinking were identified by Chi-square test and logistic regression in univariate and multivariable analyses, respectively. Backward selection procedure was used to identify covariates that were independently associated with binge drinking in the final model. The mean age of participants was 27.0+/-5.8 years and 69% were foreign born. In the entire sample, 17.4% of pregnant Latinas admitted at least one binge-drinking episode in the month around their LMP. Results of multivariate analysis indicate that Latinas born in the United States have a much greater risk of binge drinking in the periconceptional period (odds ratio [OR]=3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2, 8.9) compared with foreign-born Latinas. Similarly, Latinas who primarily speak English at home were at much greater risk (OR=3.6; 95% CI: 1.3, 10.5) compared with primarily Spanish-speaking women. No other variables were identified as significant predictors in multivariable models. Our results indicate that more acculturated Latinas are at much greater risk of binge drinking before conception and in early pregnancy compared with less acculturated Latinas. Culturally sensitive interventions should be developed to address risky alcohol consumption among Latinas of reproductive age.

publication date

  • September 2009