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S Afr Med J. 1999 Sep;89(9):962-5.

Alcohol consumption by pregnant women in the Western Cape.

Author information

1
Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR)/Department of Human Genetics, University of Cape Town.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess alcohol use by pregnant women in three underprivileged areas of the Western Cape.

DESIGN:

Data were collected from subjects, selected in a randomised manner, during a single, structured interview.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

Interviews were conducted among pregnant women voluntarily attending selected antenatal clinics in the George/Oudtshoorn, Vredenburg/Saldanha, and Cape Metropole areas of the Western Cape.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

On completion of the interview, women at risk were counselled with regard to the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure to the fetus.

RESULTS:

42.8% of the women in the sample admitted to varying degrees of alcohol ingestion during the current pregnancy. The reported alcohol intake of over 55% of these women, i.e. 23.7% of the sample, was sufficient to place their unborn children at high risk for the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). These heavy drinkers followed a pattern of binge drinking over weekends and showed a marked preference for beer. Combined alcohol and tobacco use occurred in 29.6% of the sample. Only one subject admitted to using marijuana.

CONCLUSION:

The data in this study confirm that a high rate of alcohol and tobacco use prevails among pregnant women in poorer communities of the Western Cape. Extrapolating from experience, as many as 9.5% of the sample may produce children with FAS.

PMID:
10554632
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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