Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1332–1337 | Cite as

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A Population Based Study of Premature Mortality Rates in the Mothers

  • Qing Li
  • Wayne W. Fisher
  • Chun-Zi Peng
  • Andrew D. Williams
  • Larry Burd


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are associated with an increase in risk for mortality for people with an FASD and their siblings. In this study we examine mortality rates of birth mothers of children with FASD, using a retrospective case control methodology. We utilized the North Dakota FASD Registry to locate birth certificates for children with FASD which we used to identify birth mothers. We then searched for mothers’ death certificates. We then compared the mortality rates of the birth mothers with an age matched control group comprised of all North Dakota women who were born and died in the same year as the birth mother. The birth mothers of children with FASD had a mortality rate of 15/304 = 4.93%; (95% CI 2.44–7.43%). The mortality rate for control mothers born in same years as the FASD mothers was 126/114,714 = 0.11% (95% CI 0.09–0.13%). Mothers of children with an FASD had a 44.82 fold increase in mortality risk and 87% of the deaths occurred in women under the age of 50. Three causes of death (cancer, injuries, and alcohol related disease) accounted for 67% of the deaths in the mothers of children with FASD. A diagnosis of FASD is an important risk marker for premature death in the mothers of children diagnosed with an FASD. These women should be encouraged to enter substance abuse treatment.


Maternal mortality Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder Mother Etiology Children 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing Li
    • 2
  • Wayne W. Fisher
    • 1
  • Chun-Zi Peng
    • 2
  • Andrew D. Williams
    • 2
  • Larry Burd
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Nebraska Medical CenterMunroe–Meyer InstituteOmahaUSA
  2. 2.North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome CenterUniversity of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health SciencesGrand ForksUSA

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