Asking Questions about Alcohol in Pregnancy Study (AQUA)

This study seeks to produce timely, new information on the complex relationship between low to moderate alcohol drinking patterns in pregnant women and their infant’s health and development. Exposure data was collected through questionnaires administered during each trimester of pregnancy. Data on other factors that could influence the effects of alcohol such as diet, medication and body size was also collected at each follow-up.

A subgroup of the cohort were invited for 3D craniofacial photography and developmental assessments at 12 months, and two years of age, respectively. Biosamples were collected for the measurement of genetic polymorphisms, and epigenetic studies.

AQUA at 6 is a follow-up of the AQUA participants as they enter their primary school years.

Study Summary
Study name Asking Questions about Alcohol in Pregnancy Study
Study abbreviation AQUA
Current principal investigator/s Jane Halliday
Peter Anderson
Current project manager

Evelyne Muggli

Primary Institution/s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute - MCRI
The Royal Children’s Hospital - RCH
Collaborating Institution/s National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University
La Trobe University
The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney
Deakin University
Royal Women’s Hospital
Major funding source/s National Health and Medical Research Council - NHMRC
McCusker Charitable Foundation
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
Financial Markets Foundation for Children
Study website
Key reference for study Muggli, E., O’Leary, C., Forster, D., Anderson, P., Lewis, S., Nagle, C., Craig, J.M., Donath, S., Elliott, E. and Halliday, J. (2014). Study protocol: Asking QUestions about Alcohol in pregnancy (AQUA): a longitudinal cohort study of fetal effects of low to moderate alcohol exposure. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 14: 302. doi: 10.1186/1471-2393-14-302
Study focus

AQUA has collected detailed information about alcohol consumption during pregnancy from nearly 1,600 pregnant women to assess the impact of different amounts of alcohol on the unborn child. The study aims to explore whether alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and other maternal factors are associated with problems in the health and development of young children.

Sampling frame

Participants were recruited through antenatal clinics in 2011-12, from the Mercy Hospital for Women, Royal Women's Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, Dandenong Hospital, Casey Hospital or Box Hill Hospital. Participants were less than 19 weeks pregnant with a single baby at the time of enrolment.

Primary study type Longitudinal cohort
Year commenced


Is this study ongoing? Yes - the study is ongoing
Ongoing recruitment? Yes
Sample size (N)

AQUA: 2146
AQUA at 6: ~400 participants as of August 2019

Survey data available? Yes
Imaging data available? Yes
Linkage to administrative dataset/s? Yes, linkage to (at least one) administrative dataset completed
Biosamples available? Yes
Are data available to others outside study team, with appropriate safeguards and structures in line with the cohort’s ethics and governance processes? Yes
Are there any costs associated with data/sample access for approved requests? There are usually no costs associated with access
Broadest type of participant consent available Extended consent (can be used for future ethically approved research related to this project)
Wave Year Age Sample size (N)
1 2011-2012 19 weeks gestation N(Total)=2146
2 2011-2012 26 weeks gestation N(Total)=1715
3 2011-2012 36 weeks gestation N(Total)=1571
4a 2011-2012 Birth N(Total)=1401
4 2013-2014 12 months N(Total)=1296
5 2014-2015 2 years N(Total)=1038
AQUA@6 2018-Ongoing 6-7 years IN PROGRESS
Study Contacts
Principal investigator/s Jane Halliday
Peter Anderson
Project manager

Evelyne Muggli

Study Contact

Ph: +61 3 8341 6260
Address: Murdoch Children's Research Institute,
Royal Children’s Hospital
Flemington Road, Parkville
Victoria 3052 Australia