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Am J Prev Med. 2002 Aug;23(2):136-8.

Obstetrical textbooks: recommendations about drinking during pregnancy.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Internal Medicine, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA.



For the past 2 decades, public health authorities have recommended that pregnant women abstain from alcohol. We reviewed obstetrical textbooks published over the last 4 decades to identify trends in recommendations for drinking during pregnancy. The study was begun in 2000 and completed in 2001.


Eighty-one texts were identified from a national listing service (n =51) and local library shelves (n =30).


Only 14 (17%) of the texts contained a consistent recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol. Although there was a slight upward trend toward recommendations for abstinence in more recent texts, only 24% of the 29 texts published after 1990 were in this category. Fifty-three percent of all texts and 52% of texts published after 1990 contained a sentence condoning drinking at some level. The remaining texts (30%) contained no recommendations.


Many texts, even those published recently, have not embraced public health recommendations and, in some instances, contradict them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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