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Evaluation of knowledge and behavior regarding alcohol consumption during pregnancy

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Author(s): Claudia Meneses Alves

Journal: Acta Obstetrica e Ginecologia Portuguesa
ISSN 1646-5830


ABSTRACT
Overview and Aims: in the European Union and Portugal in particular, there is a high prevalence of alcohol consumption in women of childbearing age. Drinking alcohol can have severe consequences for the fetus. The minimum quantity of alcohol that is noxious in pregnancy is still unknown, thus the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is a serious public health problem. This study was aimed at evaluating the perception and information that pregnant women have on alcohol consumption and its consequences to their unborn children.Design: cross-sectional observational study.Population: sample of convenience of pregnant women attending Primary Care Health Centres. Methods: an original questionnaire was elaborated and answered by 260 low-risk pregnant women attending their routine prenatal care.Results: women's ages varied between 15 and 49 years and 23.1% were in the first trimestre of pregnancy. Almost 80% denied alcohol consumption during the current pregnancy. Among those that drank alcohol during pregnancy, 16.5% reported drinking alcohol twice a week and 2.3% reported daily consumption. A total of 74.6% considered alcohol consumption during pregnancy to be extremely harmful to the fetus, while 2.7% considered it was not harmful at all. Fetal development abnormalities, mental retardation, growth retardation and abortion were the four most frequently identified consequences. Only 1.5% considered that there were no consequences. Conclusions: the vast majority of low-risk pregnant women women in our region are aware that alcohol consumption is contraindicated during pregnancy and its consuption is associated with potentially serious consequences.
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