Background Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preventable alcohol-related developmental disability fetal alcohol syndrome. This study examined the prevalence of alcohol use in a representative sample of pregnant women attending prenatal care at two urban clinics in Lusaka, Zambia.
Methods A cross-sectional facility based survey evaluated self-reported alcohol use in the periconceptional period and pregnancy recognition (outcomes). Bivariate analyses were performed using the χ2 test for dichotomous variables and the t-test for continuous variables. Mixed-effects linear models were used to evaluate the effect of outcome variables with patient-level variables.
Results About 40 (21.2%) pregnant women were identified by the T-ACE as at-risk for problem drinking during pregnancy. Except for regular prenatal care and distance, there was no difference in the demographic factors between pregnant women who scored <2 on the T-ACE and those that scored > 2 points (all p’s > 0.05). A small proportional of women at both clinics reported binge drinking during the periconceptional period (12.7% vs. 3.2%, p=0.003) and beyond periconception period. Excluding employed women, no significant relationships were observed between alcohol use and demographic factors.
Conclusion These findings underscore the need for targeted screening and intervention for alcohol use in all pregnant women in Zambia.