Thiocyanate and Drinking during Pregnancy

Sidney F. Bottoms, Nancy E. Judge, Paul M. Kuhnert, Robert J. Sokol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Alcohol appears to have a relatively direct effect in decreasing fetal growth; however, it also appears that other factors associated with alcohol consumption may also contribute to lowered birthweight. Three studies have suggested that beverage source of alcohol may be a determinant of decreased intrauterine growth and that beer may have a comparatively greater effect than wine and liquor. Since beer is reported to contain thiocyanate (SCN), a substance which has been implicated as a determinant of fetal growth retardation in relation to cigarette smoking, we studied maternal and fetal serum SCN levels in 82 pregnancies. After controlling for maternal characteristics, gestational age, and tobacco and marijuana use, the quantity of beer consumed was found to have a significant positive correlation with fetal serum SCN (p < 0.005). Consumption of other types of alcoholic beverages was not significantly associated with elevated fetal serum SCN, although the numbers of wine and liquor drinkers in this study were limited. Further research is warranted to explore the possibility that the correlation of beer consumption with increased SCN might provide at least one explanation for the reported linkage of diminished fetal growth and beer drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-395
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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