Barriers and facilitators of alcohol abstinence during pregnancy


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a common and under-recognised health burden in South Africa. There is a limited understanding of why pregnant women drink in the South African context, particularly in rural settings, where the prevalence of FASD is highest. A purposive sample included eight women from a rural ante-natal clinic in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Participants participated in a semi-structured interview. A process of thematic analysis was used to generate themes from the interviews. All participants were aware of the link between alcohol use during pregnancy and adverse fetal outcomes. Furthermore, most participants reduced drinking after pregnancy recognition. Participants described barriers and facilitators of alcohol abstinence. Barriers included social pressure, life stressors, and cravings and habits. Facilitators included the desire to avoid FASD, supportive relationships, availability of alternative activities. Addressing barriers at community and individual levels may aid women in reducing harmful drinking during pregnancy. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[8]: 53-65).

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