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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prevalence and Correlates of Drinking in Early Pregnancy Among Women who Stopped Drinking on Pregnancy Recognition

Women of child bearing age that regularly drink alcohol are at risk for drinking in early pregnancy. Evidence indicates a majority of women stop alcohol consumption on pregnancy recognition. However, there is a dearth of studies reporting on patterns and correlates of drinking in early pregnancy prior to stopping on pregnancy recognition, which the current study aims to address.

In 2005, a New Zealand nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted on a random sample of 1,256 women aged 16–40 years. Data were collected via an interviewer-administered questionnaire using a web-assisted telephone interviewing system. Of the 1,256 women who participated, 127 (10 %) were currently pregnant and 425 women (34 %) were previously pregnant. Half of currently pregnant women and 37 % of previously pregnant women reported that they ceased drinking on recognising pregnancy. Women categorised as “risky drinkers” and those aged 16–24 years had higher odds to drink and binge drink in early pregnancy, compared with non-risky drinkers and women of other age categories respectively. A majority of women stop alcohol consumption on pregnancy recognition but prior to this, drink at levels posing a risk for the developing foetus. Women most at risk for drinking and binge drinking in early pregnancy were younger in age and exhibited risky drinking behaviour prior to pregnancy. A targeted intervention to reduce the risk for an alcohol exposed pregnancy is warranted for sexually active younger women in New Zealand and elsewhere.

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