Women's Knowledge, Views, and Experiences Regarding Alcohol Use and Pregnancy: Opportunities to Improve Health Messages

Principal Author: 
Eleka, E., Harrisa, S.L., Squirea, C.M., Margolisa, M., Weberb, M.K., Dangb
Year of Publication: 
2 013


Women continue to drink alcohol during pregnancy despite Surgeon Generals' Advisory statements and educational efforts about the dangers.


This focus group research study examined women's knowledge and beliefs about alcohol consumption and its risks during pregnancy along with related perceptions of social influences and information sources in order to inform future messaging.


The study included 20 focus groups of 149 reproductive-age women segmented by age, pregnancy status, and race/ethnicity.

Results and Discussion

Women acknowledged the risks and consequences of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but many held common misconceptions. Some women continued to drink during pregnancy or expressed intent to continue drinking until pregnancy confirmation. Findings indicated that women's partners, families, and friends influence women's decisions to drink or abstain from alcohol. In addition, health care providers and the Internet act as important sources of health information for women but sometimes do not adequately educate them about the risks of alcohol use and pregnancy.

Translation to Health Education Practice

Considerations for messaging and educational materials related to alcohol use and pregnancy include providing clear and consistent messaging (especially from health professionals), focusing on social support strategies, and utilizing electronic media.

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Eleka, E., Harrisa, S.L., Squirea, C.M.,
Margolisa, M., Weberb, M.K., Dangb, E.P., & Mitchellb, B. (2013). Women's
knowledge, views, and experiences regarding alcohol use and pregnancy:
Opportunities to improve health messages. American Journal of Health
, 44(4), 177-190. DOI: 10.1080/19325037.2013.768906

Link to article: