Dissemination of Prenatal Drinking Guidelines: A Preliminary Study Examining Personal Alcohol Use Among Midwives in a Southwestern US State
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INTRODUCTION: The constellation of birth defects seen in fetuses exposed to alcohol in utero have been described as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Evidence suggests that health care providers' communication practices regarding prenatal alcohol use could have beneficial outcomes. There is a paucity of investigations, however, that have examined the health professionals' personal alcohol use and prenatal alcohol recommendations they provide. METHODS: This study sought to examine and compare midwives' personal alcohol use and communication practices regarding prenatal alcohol consumption. Certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and certified professional midwives (CPMs) in a southwestern US state participated. Inclusion criteria included training in prenatal care, labor, birth, and membership in a midwife professional organization. Personal drinking behaviors were assessed with Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C). RESULTS: All midwives (N = 61; 100%) reported they typically screened a patient for alcohol use during an initial prenatal visit. However, 5 (8.2%) respondents opted for recommendations that advised patients to drink once in a while. Similarly, 4 (6.6%) midwives counseled no more than one drink per day. In the cohort of participants (n = 40) with AUDIT-C scores, 25 (62.5%) engaged in nonrisky drinking (AUDIT-C scores <3). Most respondents (n = 39 of 40; 97.5%) typically consumed 1 to 2 standard drinks on the day they drank. There was no statistically significant difference in mean overall AUDIT-C scores between CNMs and CPMs (P = .42). When examining midwives' (1) responses on the AUDIT-C questionnaire, (2) nonrisky or risky drinking behaviors, and 3) communication practices regarding prenatal alcohol use, Fisher's exact test showed no statistically significant differences between CNMs and CPMs. DISCUSSION: Results of this study highlight the importance of advocating healthy lifestyles among health care professionals while also promoting communication practices that align with national alcohol guidelines. Future investigations that examine associations between health care professionals' personal alcohol use and type or effectiveness of services offered to patients may be beneficial.
author list (cited authors)
Olusanya, O. A., & Barry, A. E.