Brief intervention cuts prenatal alcohol use, improves birthweights

March 1, 2007

Pregnant women who consume alcohol are more likely to abstain if they are given a brief talk about the dangers of alcohol consumption to the fetus, and tend to have higher birthweight infants than their counterparts who do not have any intervention, researchers report in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Pregnant women who consume alcohol are more likely to abstain if they are given a brief talk about the dangers of alcohol consumption to the fetus, and tend to have higher birthweight infants than their counterparts who do not have any intervention, researchers report in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Mary J. O'Connor, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and Shannon E. Whaley, PhD, enrolled 255 pregnant women from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program who self-reported alcohol consumption. The women were randomized into one of two groups: one group underwent assessment alone and the other was given a 10- to 15-minute talk by a nutritionist using a scripted manual to inform mothers of the potential effects of alcohol on the fetus.

Women in the intervention group were five times more likely to abstain from alcohol compared with the control group. Moreover, their infants had higher birthweight and birth lengths, and the group had a 0.9% fetal mortality rate versus 2.9% for the control group.

O'Connor MJ, Whaley SE. Brief intervention for alcohol use by pregnant women. Am J Public Health. 2007;97:252-258.