Kotelnikova, Z. (2022), Prevalence of self-reported alcohol consumption among pregnant women in Russia between 1994 and 2018. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.14798
Russia is known as a country with a high level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, although there are no relevant nationwide data on its dynamics. This survey examined the changes in the prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age from 1994 to 2018. It also aimed to find predictors of alcohol consumption in pregnant women in Russia.
As part of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE), a series of annual surveys that are both nationally representative and have a longitudinal component, the data used in this research covered a total of 1,943 pregnant and 80,237 non-pregnant childbearing-age women. Past 30-day alcohol prevalence and current pregnancy status were self-reported with the help of face-to-face interviews. Logistic regressions using generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) were applied to two dependent variables: 1) current drinkers (any alcohol in the past 30 days) vs. 30-day non-drinkers from 1994–2018 and 2) current drinkers and occasional drinkers (ever drinkers at any level except for the past 30 days) vs. non-drinkers from 2006–2018. Predictors were preventative check-ups, hospitalization, health problems, frequency of doctor visits, and the time period of pregnancy data collection. Controls were smoking and demographic characteristics, including university education, age, employment, subjective financial well-being, type of localities and marital status.
Between 1994 and 2018, a decrease in the 30-day prevalence of alcohol consumption was observed in both pregnant (from 25.6 (95%CI±3.3) to 9.4% (95%CI±2.2)) and non-pregnant (from 57.3 (95%CI±0.7) to 39.0% (95%CI±0.6)) women in Russia, but the former did it at a faster rate. Percentage of abstainers among pregnant women increased from 46.8% (95%CI±4.2) to 54.6% (95%CI±3.6) between 2006 and 2018, while occasional drinking among pregnant women remained at the same level of 35% (95%CI±4.0). Time period, preventative check-ups, hospitalization, and frequent doctor’s visits were significant predictors in explaining the drop in the 30-day prevalence of alcohol intake in pregnant women, while they did not predict the prevalence of occasional drinking among them.
Medical professionals were not empowered in reducing the level of alcohol consumption among Russian pregnant women to zero due to conflicting information on how low alcohol intake affects health risks. Occasional drinking refers to a self-control domain in which women make decisions depending on their perceptions of a healthy pregnancy as framed by general social institutions and the environment.