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Midwives, nurses may underestimate threat of prenatal alcohol use: Study


Women should not take their midwives' and nurses' advice on alcohol consumption seriously during pregnancy as a recent study has revealed that they underestimate the threat of prenatal alcohol use.
The study revealed that 44 per cent midwives and nurses think that one drink on certain occasions is acceptable during pregnancy. Also, 38 per cent held the view that alcohol consumption is safe during at least one trimester of pregnancy.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have harmful effects on foetus including restricted growth, facial anomalies, and neurobehavioural problems and no amount of alcohol use has been proven safe during pregnancy.
"Many prenatal care providers remain inadequately informed of the risks of drinking during pregnancy. They fail to screen actively for alcohol use and miss opportunities for intervention," said John Hannigan, study's author.
The study was published in the journal 'Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research'.
The research team analysed 578 survey responses from professional members of the American College of Nurse Midwives.
The survey assessed knowledge of the effects of prenatal alcohol use, attitudes toward and perceived barriers to screening for alcohol use, and the use of standard screening tools in clinical practice.
"Only about one in three respondents said they screen for alcohol use at least some of the time," Hannigan said, "and many screening tools aren't validated for use in pregnant women."
Midwives and nurses who believed alcohol was safe at some point in pregnancy were significantly less likely to screen their patients.
The study recommends more comprehensive training for providers of care during pregnancy.
"Midwives need to understand the health effects of alcohol use during pregnancy, the importance of screening, and the most reliable screening tools to use," Hannigan said. "The good news is this problem can be fixed.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 12:44 AM IST

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