Alcohol and pregnancy – knowledge, perspetives and practice of Portuguese health professionals working with pregnant women

Thursday, 24 November, 2022 - 10:50 to 12:20


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term describing the range of possible life-long effects that can occur in a person prenatally exposed to alcohol, entirely preventable if pregnant women don’t drink. In spite of recommendations that no alcohol use during pregnancy (AUDP) is the safest option, research shows that there is a substantial number of women who continue to AUDP. Healthcare professionals who provide care for pregnant women can have a decisive influence on the prevention of FASD. This work presents a qualitative approach exploring knowledge, perspectives and practice of health professionals towards AUDP.

A qualitative methodology based on a phenomenological approach was used. Participants were 21 healthcare professionals who provide care for pregnant women (13 nurses and 8 doctors), recruited (until theoretical saturation was achieved) through non-probability convenience sampling. After informed consent, in-depth interviews were conducted, verbatim transcribed and then thematically analyzed following a semi-inductive approach, using QSR-NVIVO software. The results point to insufficient information on the subject and a lack of knowledge about national and international alcohol guidelines. Participants also revealed disparate perspectives on safe level of alcohol. However, they identified some consequences of AUDP. Health professionals described the use of different approaches to advise/inform pregnant women. They ask pregnant women only once about their alcohol use, at the start of the pregnancy, revealing non-compliance with national guidelines for health professionals working with pregnant women.

Participants have identified the need for better prevention, and more training and education to adequately respond to the needs of this population. This study demonstrate a need for improving the quality and consistency of information about alcohol consumption provided in healthcare settings to pregnant women, as well as improving knowledge and training in communication strategies for healthcare professionals in this field.


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24 107 1050 Maria Xavier_v1.0.pdf385.84 KBDownload



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