In 2009, Australian alcohol guidelines for pregnancy changed from low to no alcohol intake. Previous research found a high proportion of pregnant Australian women drank during pregnancy; however, there has been limited investigation of whether pregnant women comply with 2009 alcohol guidelines.
The purpose of this study was to provide an assessment of pregnant women’s compliance with 2009 Australian alcohol guidelines and identify predictors of such compliance. Data from 837 women from the 1973–1978 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health was analysed, involving women aged 30–36 years who were pregnant at the 2009 survey.
- 72% of pregnant women did not comply with the 2009 alcohol guidelines and 82% of these women drank less than seven drinks per week, with no more than one or two drinks per drinking day.
- Women who previously complied with the 2001 alcohol guidelines were more than 3 times as likely to comply with the 2009 guidelines as those who did not.
- Women whose household incomes were $36,400 or more were less likely to comply with the guidelines, as were women who consumed alcohol at least weekly prior to pregnancy
- Those who abstained from alcohol prior to pregnancy were more likely to comply.
Most pregnant women did not comply with alcohol guidelines promoting abstinence. Prior alcohol behaviour was the strongest predictor of compliance during pregnancy, suggesting alcohol use should be addressed in women of child-bearing age.
Citation: Anderson AE, Hure AJ, Powers JR, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Loxton DJ (2012). Determinants of pregnant women’s compliance with alcohol guidelines: A prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 12:777. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-777