Send to

Choose Destination
J Stud Alcohol. 1999 Mar;60(2):285-7.

Findings of a pilot study of motivational interviewing with pregnant drinkers.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131-1161, USA.



Cost-effective interventions are needed for counseling pregnant drinkers, in order to reduce risk of fetal alcohol effects.


42 pregnant women who reported alcohol consumption participated in this pilot study of motivational interviewing. Following a comprehensive alcohol use assessment, the participants were randomly assigned to receive either written information about the risks related to drinking during pregnancy or a one-hour motivational interview. The motivational interview was an empathic, client-centered, but directive session focusing on the health of the participants' unborn babies.


At the end of a 2-month follow-up period, the 34 women (81%) who remained in the study showed a significant reduction in alcohol consumption and peak intoxication levels. Women who had reported the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels during early pregnancy showed a significantly greater reduction in their estimated BACs at follow-up (during later pregnancy) if assigned to the treatment rather than the control condition.


Motivational interviewing shows promise as a specific intervention for initiating a reduction in drinking among pregnant women who are at greatest risk. Simpler assessment and advice may suffice for women with lower initial consumption levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services
Loading ...
Support Center