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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;21(6):496-500. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e328332a74c.

Brief alcohol intervention to prevent drinking during pregnancy: an overview of research findings.

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Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Community Medicine, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden.



The aim is to describe the theory and practice of brief alcohol interventions and provide a summary of the current evidence base, including details about the four randomized controlled trials that have been conducted with pregnant women. Opportunities for providing alcohol interventions for pregnant women in antenatal care are also addressed.


Brief intervention has emerged as a promising approach to provide early intervention, before or soon after the onset of alcohol-related problems. There is convincing evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of brief intervention in various healthcare settings. The findings from four randomized brief intervention trials that have been conducted with pregnant women are consistent with the broader literature on brief intervention. The interventions were effective in reducing alcohol consumption, but control group participants also reduced their consumption to the degree that statistically significant differences between the groups were difficult to detect.


Pregnant women are generally believed to be highly motivated to reduce their alcohol intake, and the contextual change provided by the pregnancy provides an opportunity to break habitual drinking behaviour. There is an empirical and theoretical support for providing brief intervention in antenatal care to achieve reduced or no alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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