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April 1980

Neonatal Death Associated With Acute Transplacental Ethanol Intoxication

Author Affiliations

Division of Neonatology; Division of Toxicology Department of Pediatrics University of Utah Medical Center 50 N Medical DR Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(4):419-420. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.04490010073022

Alcohol is known to produce fetal teratogenicity,1 neonatal withdrawal,2 and acute transplacental intoxication.3 We report a case of death in a neonate attributed to transplacental alcohol, used in an attempt to prevent premature parturition.

Report of a Case.—The mother, a 20-year-old primigravida in her 32nd week of an uncomplicated pregnancy, was prescribed strict bed rest and oral vodka, 30 mL thrice daily, to retard early onset of labor. Two days later, with continued contractions, the amount was increased and consumed in the volume of 30 mL/hr. Twelve hours thereafter, she was hospitalized with regular contractions and a slightly bloody vaginal discharge.

A single intravenous (IV) dose of 10 mg of morphine sulfate and a continuous IV drip of 10% ethanol were administered. During the next four hours, she became progressively intoxicated, unresponsive, areflexic, and unconscious, necessitating discontinuation of the ethanol drip; a total of 160 g of ethanol had been