Manitoba women continue to consume alcohol during pregnancy

Manitoba women continue to consume alcohol during pregnancy, Iryna Chyrkova

A new study made by scientists from the University of Manitoba has shown that a very large percentage of women still consume alcohol while being pregnant.

The study also showed that more than 40% of them were not properly informed about the effect of alcohol on the fetus and did not receive the necessary prenatal care. However, 60% were aware of and continued to consume alcohol.

"Our research suggests that screening and intervention programs in prenatal care settings may be missing an extremely high-risk population for alcohol use during pregnancy," the study said. "If pregnant women who have issues with alcohol use or dependence don't venture into a doctor's office, or do so rarely, they are not being reached by programs or supports offered there."

The study also showed that consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is directly related to the poverty level of the mother: the higher this level is, the higher the likelihood of alcohol consumption will be. Accordingly, this type of population has a bigger difficulty in communicating with medicals and getting information.

As a rule, such women want to avoid condemnation from people around them and from doctors. Therefore, they lead a rather isolated lifestyle until they give birth to a child.

"Our findings show that these women are not receiving an important health-care service that is critical to monitoring their health and that of their baby, and could help to reduce their alcohol consumption during pregnancy," said Singal, a postdoctoral fellow at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy at the U of M's Max Rady College of Medicine.

"Outreach efforts to make contact with at-risk women should be incorporated into FASD prevention strategies. More broadly, we need programs across sectors to address the social determinants of health — factors such as poverty, low educational attainment, unemployment, stress and addiction — in order to increase the rate of prenatal care among vulnerable women who consume alcohol."

Scientists recommend doctors to pay more attention to their patients and to help them without any condemnation. 

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University of Manitoba study pregnancy
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