Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and health and development of index child at birth and 12-24 months of age.


Study name Asking Questions about Alcohol in Pregnancy Study
Study abbreviation AQUA
Current principal investigator/s

Prof Peter Anderson Group Leader/Honorary Fellow Manager of Victorian Infant Brain Studies (VIBeS), Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), Melbourne

Prof Jane Halliday NHMRC Senior Research Fellow, Public Health Genetics, MCRI, Melbourne

Current project manager Evelyne Muggli
Cohort representative (study contact)
Evelyne Muggli
Postal address
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, The Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria 3052 Australia
Phone +613 83416260 

Primary Institution Murdoch Children’s Research Institute – MCRI
The Royal Children’s Hospital – RCH
Collaborating Institution/s

Monash University

University of Sydney

University of Melbourne

La Trobe University

Major funding sources National Health and Medical Research Council – NHMRC
McCusker Charitable Foundation
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation
Financial Markets Foundation for Children
Study website
Key reference
Muggli, E., Halliday, J., Elliot, E. J., Penington, A., Thompson, D., Spittle, A. J., Forster, D., Lewis, S., Hearps, S., and Anderson, P. (2022). Cohort profile: early school years follow-up of the Asking Questions about Alcohol in Pregnancy Longitudinal Study in Melbourne, Australia (AQUA at 6). BMJ Open, 12.
Are data available outside study team? Not at present
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.
Year commenced 2011
Commencement sample

AQUA Stage 1: 2146

AQUA at 6: 1342

Intergenerational? No 

AQUA 1: Children had a 3D photograph of their head and face at 12 months of age.

AQUA at 6: Children were invited to have 3D photograph of their head and face. A subset of children also had an MRI brain scan.

A subsample of children who participated in the AQUA at 6 were linked to the Australian Early Developmental Census (AEDC)

AQUA Stage 1: maternal buccal swab, placental biopsy, cord blood mononuclear cells, or neonatal buccal swab.

AQUA at 6: Child buccal swab


Wave Year Age (mean, range) Eligible sample
1 2011-2012  < 19 weeks gestation 2146 completed a questionnaire
2 2011-2012 26 weeks gestation 1715 completed a questionnaire
3 2011-2012 36 weeks gestation 1571 completed a questionnaire
4 2013-2014 12 months old (includes birth)

Of 1566 eligible (not withdrawn):

1296 completed the questionnaire.

518 child craniofacial 3D images

5 2014-2015 2 years

Of 1519 eligible (not withdrawn):

1038 completed the questionnaire.

564 completed the developmental assessment.

Aqua@6 2018-2020 6-7 years

Of 1342 eligible (not withdrawn):

802 parents completed the survey

696 children completed the developmental assessment