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School of Medicine





Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can result in detrimental developmental complications. The objective of this study was to estimate the most recent PAE prevalence data for the state of West Virginia (WV) and associated factors.


In all, 1830 newborn residual dried blood spots (DBS) in the WV Newborn Screening Repository were analyzed for phosphatidylethanol (PETH). Data were matched with Project WATCH data (94% match, N = 1729).


The prevalence of late pregnancy PAE was 8.10% (95%CI: 6.81, 9.38) for all births, 7.61% (95%CI: 6.26, 8.97) for WV residents only, and ranged from 2.27 to 17.11% by region. The significant factors associated with PAE included smoking (OR: 2.03, 95% CI: 1.40, 2.94), preterm births (OR: 1.88; 95% CI: 1.23, 2.89), birth weight of ≤2000 g vs. >3000 g (OR: 2.62, 95%CI: 1.19, 5.79), no exclusive breastfeeding intention (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.02, 2.04), and not exclusively breastfeeding before discharge (OR: 1.61; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.38).


The prevalence of PAE is higher than previously shown for the state. Accurate and timely estimates are vital to inform public health workers, policymakers, researchers, and clinicians to develop and promote effective prevention strategies to lower PAE prevalence and provide targeted interventions and treatment services for infants affected by PAE.

Source Citation

Umer, A., Lilly, C., Hamilton, C. et al. Prevalence of alcohol use in late pregnancy. Pediatr Res (2020).


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