Trends in alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Australia, 2001–2010

Sarah Callinan, Jason Ferris


Callinan, S., & Ferris, J. (2014). Trends in alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Australia, 2001–2010. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 3(1), 17-24. doi:10.7895/ijadr.v3i1.108

Aim: The aim of the current study is to examine, using cross-sectional data, the role of maternal age, period (year of pregnancy) and cohort (year of birth) as predictors of alcohol consumption during pregnancy over a 10-year period.

Design: Four cross-sectional surveys were examined, both separately and together.

Setting: Using cross-sectional data, there does appear to be a positive relationship between maternal age and alcohol consumption during pregnancy; however, within any one survey period, it is difficult to determine if these patterns are due to period or cohort effects.

Participants: The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) is a large-scale survey administered to more than 20,000 respondents. Across four survey periods, 3,281 women reported being pregnant in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Measures: The section on pregnancy and alcohol in the NDSHS 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Findings: Age was a significant positive predictor of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in 2010. However, when the four data sets were combined, period appeared to be a stronger predictor, with younger groups and cohorts decreasing consumption at a faster rate over time than older groups and cohorts.

Conclusions: Although age and cohort do play a role in the likelihood of alcohol consumption among Australian women during pregnancy, period is the most important predictor, indicating that alcohol consumption among pregnant women is decreasing. Furthermore, knowledge of pregnancy results in a marked decrease in consumption, suggesting a possible focus for prevention campaigns.


alcohol; pregnancy; survey;

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