This poster was presented by Clare McCormack at the 2015 NDARC Annual Research Symposium.
Many women consume alcohol during pregnancy, despite public health guidelines advising abstinence. Contributing to this is the high rate of pregnancies that are unplanned, and high levels of alcohol consumption amongst women of childbearing age. As a result, many women consume alcohol in the early stages of trimester one before becoming aware of their pregnancy.
The purpose of this study was to examine prevalence and predictors of alcohol consumption by women prior to awareness of their pregnancy.
A sample of 1,487 women were recruited from general antenatal clinics of public hospitals in Sydney and Perth. Women and their partners completed detailed interviews about alcohol and drug use in each trimester. Alcohol consumption before and after recognition of pregnancy was recorded separately.
Alcohol consumption prior to recognition of pregnancy was common. Binge and heavy drinking was more prevalent than low-level drinking during this time. However, most women reduce or cease alcohol consumption once becoming aware of their pregnancy. Public health strategies aimed at reducing drinking in early stages of pregnancy, and promoting contraceptive use and early detection of pregnancy among women of childbearing age may be helpful in preventing the risk of alcohol exposed pregnancies. Demographic and social factors are related to alcohol use during this period.