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Assessing alcohol use in pregnant women using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH)


The project aims to provide a better understanding of why Australian women are drinking during pregnancy. The project is focussed on the ALSWH 1973-78 cohort. Previous phases of this project examined pregnant women’s compliance with alcohol guidelines and identified predictors of prenatal alcohol consumption. A large proportion of Australian women reported drinking alcohol during pregnancy, despite guidelines promoting abstinence. Patterns of pre-pregnancy alcohol consumption (i.e. binge drinking and weekly consumption) were identified as strong predictors of alcohol use during pregnancy. Further work will explore these behaviours in more detail to determine the risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Qualitative interviews with participants have been conducted to provide insight into women’s perceptions of the information they received about alcohol use during pregnancy. It is hoped that this project will identify the components that need to be addressed in order to reduce the high prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy in Australia.