Details of Publication 744 for Project A312A:

Anderson A, Hure A, Kay-Lambkin F & Loxton D. Women's perceptions of information about alcohol use during pregnancy: A qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 2014; 14(1):

Background: A number of alcohol guidelines worldwide suggest that pregnant women should abstain from alcohol. However, high prevalence rates of alcohol consumption during pregnancy still exist. It is unknown whether there are problems with the dissemination of guideline information that is potentially contributing to suchconsumption. This qualitative study aimed to explore women’s perceptions of information they received about alcohol use during pregnancy after the introduction of abstinence guidelines.Methods: Nineteen women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) 1973–78 cohort that reported a pregnancy in 2009 were recruited for semi-structured telephone interviews. The interviews were conducted until data saturation was reached. Interviews were transcribed, then thematically analysed. ALSWH survey data was used to augment the findings. The main outcome measure was women’s perceptions of information received about alcohol use during pregnancy after the introduction of the 2009 Australian guidelines promoting abstinence during pregnancy.Results: Women reported a number of problems with the information about alcohol use during pregnancy and with its dissemination. There were inconsistencies in the information about alcohol use during pregnancy and in the advice provided. Mixed messages and confusion about identifying a safe level of consumption had implications on women’s decisions to drink or abstain during pregnancy. Women expressed a need for a clear, consistent message to be provided to women as early as possible. They preferred that the message come from healthcare professionals or another reputable source.Conclusions: To make an informed decision about alcohol use during pregnancy, women must first be provided with the latest evidence-based information. As this study found a number of limitations with information provision, it is suggested that a systematic approach be adopted by healthcare professionals, in line with best-practiceguidelines, to ensure all women are made aware of the alcohol recommendations for pregnancy.