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Information on Alcohol and Pregnancy Australian Survey Results: Women experience social pressure to consume alcohol during pregnancy

Last year, NOFASD Australia conducted an online survey to determine the extent to which Australian women were provided with information about the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy and if women experienced pressure to consume alcohol while pregnant. The survey was randomly advertised on Facebook, resulting in 275 women aged between 18-40 years completing the survey.

NOFASD’s survey results found that more than half the women surveyed reported being encouraged to drink alcohol when they did not want to. This highlights the problem of peer pressure around alcohol consumption in general, and is of particular importance when we consider that many women choose not to disclose a pregnancy during the first trimester. According to these results, up to half of pregnant women could face societal pressure to drink before they announce their pregnancy.

Of the women who completed the survey and who had been pregnant, one third had been encouraged to drink alcohol during their pregnancy. Comments from some of the respondents include:

  • “The tough time is before you’ve announced that you’re pregnant because it’s too early. People offer drinks and then get pushy when you decline. Australia has a very alcoholic culture.”
  • “My sister recently announced she is pregnant. Because she has not told her colleagues, she had small sips of wine in front of them, to avoid suspicion.”
  • “It was mainly my partner’s family that pushed me to drink when I said I didn’t want to. My family didn’t push the point as much.”

The results from this study are similar to findings in academic research. Research has found that social pressure to consume alcohol (especially at social events) can make it difficult for women to remain alcohol-free during pregnancy. One study found that not drinking alcohol while pregnant meant that women were excluded from social events and felt a lack of connection with their peers. Of particular difficulty was when women had not yet disclosed their pregnancy, and during this period (usually the first trimester) the support of their partner was crucial. This research demonstrates that pregnant women experience social pressure to consume alcohol while pregnant, which can make it difficult for them to stay alcohol-free.

If you would like information about the risk of alcohol consumption while pregnant, visit the NOFASD Australia website.

If you are pregnant and would like support to abstain from alcohol, contact NOFASD Australia here. Alternatively, organisations such as Hello Sunday Morning can assist you to remain alcohol-free during pregnancy.

Untoxicated and Meetup Australia provide information on some great alcohol-free events.


Further reading

Pregnancy as a transition: First-time expectant couples′ experience with alcohol consumption. Read article

What influences Australian women to not drink alcohol during pregnancy? Read article

Read more results from this online survey:
Not Enough Women Receive Information About Alcohol and Pregnancy
Inaccurate Health Information is Received when Pregnant and Planning

Read more NOFASD Australia blogs

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