Perception of safety and consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy

C. O. Adiri, E. E. Asimadu, M. I. Nwafor, S. O. Nweze & C. I. Ukaegbe (2022) Perception of safety and consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, DOI: 10.1080/01443615.2022.2125795


This cross-sectional study of antenatal clinic attendees aimed to determine the proportions of pregnant women that consider different alcoholic beverages safe for their babies; and the proportions that took them in the index pregnancy. Five hundred and six women completed the questionnaires. Mean age was 30.07 ± 5.13 years. Mean parity was 1.44 ± 1.32. 478 (94.5%) were married. Three hundred and eighty-three (75.69%) had tertiary education. These proportions did not consider these alcoholic beverages harmful in pregnancy: palm wine 35.77%, stout 17.03%, beer 14.03%, alcoholic wine 13.83%, ogogoro (distilled fermented palm wine) 13.04% and gin/spirits 9.88%. The proportion that consumed different alcoholic beverages during pregnancy were: palm wine 17.20%, beer 5.33%, alcoholic wine 4.35%, stout 4.15%, ogogoro 1.58% and gin/spirits 0.59%. Pregnant women who considered various alcoholic beverages safe in pregnancy were significantly more likely to consume them during pregnancy. Healthcare providers should assess women’s perception of the safety of different alcoholic beverages and offer counselling to discourage their consumption during pregnancy.

Impact Statement

What is already known on this subject? Babies exposed to alcohol in pregnancy are at increased risk of developing foetal alcohol spectrum disorders. No safe level of alcohol has been established for pregnancy. The level of alcohol consumption by pregnant women is still high in our practice environment.

What do the results of this study add? The perception that a specific alcoholic beverage is safe and not harmful to the foetus, significantly increases the likelihood of the consumption of that alcoholic beverage by a pregnant woman.

What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? Healthcare workers will need to enquire about specific alcoholic beverages especially those common within their practice environment. An enquiry should be made on the perception of safety and their consumption during pregnancy. Women who perceive certain alcoholic beverages are more likely to consume them during pregnancy and hence should receive specific counselling on the alcoholic content of these beverages and the risk to their babies to discourage the consumption of that alcoholic beverage during pregnancy.

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