Research conducted in Australia reveals that the majority of women who continued to drink in pregnancy drank with their partner and that heavy drinking women were more likely to have partners who were heavy drinkers.
Emerging research demonstrates that paternal alcohol use can contribute to DNA damage to sperm and fetus and can result in low birthweight, congenital heart defects and reduced cognitive ability. Some studies support an impact to the fetus from paternal alcohol consumption even in the absence of maternal alcohol exposure.
There is also a range of other risk factors that contribute to women’s drinking patterns, for example, poverty, poor nutrition, mental health issues, domestic violence and other historical cultural factors.
These risk factors can only be addressed at a systems and community level.