Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Sep 4;228:109023. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109023. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption is found in a significant proportion of women during their pregnancies. The only study on the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Israel was conducted over a decade ago. Thus, our study aimed to assess alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy, associations with demographic characteristics, knowledge of possible risks of prenatal alcohol exposure, and relations among such knowledge, sociodemographic characteristics, and drinking habits.
METHODS: A convenience sample of 802 pregnant Israeli women completed an anonymous online questionnaire regarding their alcohol consumption during pregnancy, recommendations received, and knowledge of possible risks.
RESULTS: Of the sample, 539 (67.2 %) women self-reported drinking alcohol in the 2 months prior to learning they were pregnant, and 96 (12 %) during their pregnancy. Twice as many (28.1 %) reported knowing other women who had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Women with higher education, in their first pregnancies, ethnically Jewish, and secular reported the highest pre-pregnancy rates of alcohol consumption. About 40 % reported receiving no education about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
CONCLUSIONS: A concerning percentage of pregnant women in Israel acknowledge drinking alcohol near and after conception. Although most participants reported discontinuing use after realizing they were pregnant, a worrying percentage continued consumption with little knowledge of the dangers. Actual rates may be higher. Information about risks of prenatal alcohol exposure is not widely disseminated, emphasizing the need to increase public awareness.
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