Midwives’ perceptions and attitudes to prenatal alcohol consumption and the influences on screening and brief interventions.

Lawrence Doi, Helen Cheyne, Ruth Jepson

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Background: There are mixed messages about the consequences of prenatal alcohol consumption. The Scottish Government implemented screening and brief interventions in antenatal care setting to help address this and reduce alcohol exposed pregnancies. As little is known about how the complexity of conflicting messages influence midwives perceptions and attitudes, this study examined how these factors affect midwives’ delivery of screening and brief interventions.

Materials and methods: In this qualitative study, 21 midwives participated in individual interviews and focus groups. Data were analyzed using a hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development.

Results: Midwives showed a clear understanding of the effects of drinking in pregnancy and were optimistic about their involvement in the screening and brief intervention program. However, they reported that many women had already given up drinking or were drinking minimal amounts prior to their first antenatal appointment. They felt that delivering them pre-pregnancy would be more beneficial. This partially negated the purpose of the program as some midwives accorded screening and brief interventions low priority in their workload, especially in the midst of competing priorities. For women who were currently drinking, midwives indicated that sufficient rapport was necessary at the first antenatal appointment in order to discuss alcohol issues appropriately, but they felt this was often challenging.

Conclusions: Although midwives identified several challenges of delivering screening and brief interventions, antenatal setting provides a unique opportunity for screening and delivering brief interventions to address some of the misconceptions of prenatal alcohol consumption, and hopefully reduce drinking in pregnancy. However, several factors may need to be considered to improve their delivery in this setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA50
JournalAddiction Science and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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