Alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending the ante.natal clinic of a tertiary hospital in South.South Nigeria
Background: As efforts to reduce maternal and childhood mortality rates continue to yield results in Nigeria, it is time to put more emphases on the health of children. Alcohol consumption is one of the few modifiable risk factors for poor pregnancy outcome. This study assessed the consumption of alcohol among pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Materials and Methods: This study was carried out using a descriptive cross.sectional study design, with data collected using an interviewer.administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was used to collect information on the knowledge of the harmful effects of alcohol on the fetus, attitudes toward alcohol use by pregnant women, and alcohol use by the respondents.
Results: A total of 221 subjects were studied. The respondents had an average age of 29.5 } 4.6 years, were mostly married (96.83%), Christians (94.57%), and had tertiary education (73.76%). Only, 51.58% of the respondents knew of the harmful effects of alcohol on the fetus; of whom, 62.29% were told by a health professional. More than half (59.28%) of the respondents had taken alcohol during the index pregnancy, about a third (39.40%) of whom drank alcohol on a regular basis, whereas 25.79% were binge drinkers. There were no statistically significant differences in the marital (P = 0.16) and educational status (P = 0.15) of the respondents who abstained from alcohol in the index pregnancy, compared with those who drank alcohol; although, statistically significant differences were observed in the age (P < 0.001), parity (P = 0.02) and religion (P < 0.001) of the respondents.
Conclusion: The level of alcohol consumption among the pregnant women is high. Health education is, therefore, required to change the attitude of the public and the knowledge and behavior of the pregnant women.
Key words: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Nigeria, Port Harcourt