Study Evaluates Connection Between Drug, Alcohol Use and Infant Abdominal Malformation | Women's Health | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Study Evaluates Connection Between Drug, Alcohol Use and Infant Abdominal Malformation

MAYWOOD, IL –  Alcohol use early in the pregnancy by the mother may be a risk factor for a condition in which an infant's intestines develop outside the abdomen, according to a study published in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

Loyola Medicine maternal-fetal medicine physician Jean Ricci Goodman, MD, medical director of obstetrical services, was first author of the study.

The national study was conducted with patients who were referred to a university-based tertiary level obstetric clinic for a routine mid-pregnancy ultrasound. The aim was to evaluate the impact of poor maternal nutrition, environmental exposure and vasoactive stimulants (drugs that can either raise or lower blood pressure) as potential risk factors for gastroschisis, a condition in which a baby's intestines form outside the abdomen through a hole next to the belly button.

The study was conducted from September 2010 to June 2012, during which 38 cases of gastroschisis were diagnosed. Thirty cases were included in the analyses, with 76 control cases.

Among cases observed, there were no links found in either group between the use of illicit, prescription or over-the-counter drug use and gastroschisis. Diet and environmental exposures also did not seem to be risk factors. 

However, the use of alcohol in mothers of gastroschisis cases one month prior and/or early in the pregnancy showed a significant increase in odds of the condition (36.7 percent in cases of gastroschisis versus 18.4 percent in the control group).  

Babies born with gastroschisis are at risk for other anomalies in the gastrointestinal and other organ systems. Previous studies have indicated an increased rate in women from socially disadvantaged environments with nutritional deficits. While there has been an increase across all age groups and races, the largest increase (200 percent in the last decade) was among non-Hispanic African American women younger than 20 years.

"Cases of gastroschisis have been on the rise worldwide for 30 years," Dr. Ricci Goodman said. "It's important to understand why this trend is happening and develop measures to prevent it."

Dr. Goodman is part of a multidisciplinary team at Loyola Medicine offering comprehensive, integrated maternal-fetal medicine care for women who have or may develop pregnancy complications.  

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.