Background: The prevention and treatment of alcohol use disorders among women of reproductive age have been well described. However, there is limited information on women specifically during the postpartum period. This period in a woman's life is a time of transition and it provides an ideal opportunity for primary care providers to intervene.
Purpose: The goal of this report was to present the results of a brief alcohol intervention conducted in 34 obstetrical practices with women seeking routine postpartum care.
Methods: A randomized clinical trial was conducted from 2002 to 2005 in a diverse sample of women located in 15 Wisconsin counties. This report presents 6-month follow-up data.
Results: A total of 8,706 women were screened for high-risk alcohol use during routine postpartum care with 997 (12%) of these women testing positive for at-risk drinking. A total of 235 women met inclusion criteria and were randomized to either "usual care" or "brief intervention." The 4-session intervention was delivered by outpatient obstetrical nurses and research staff. The mean age of the women in the sample was 28, 19.3% were from minority groups, 60.8% were married, 53.2% reported current tobacco use, and 17.9% had used marijuana in the previous 30 days. At the 6 month follow-up appointment, there were significant reductions in mean number of total drinks in the previous 28 days (p < 0.013), number of drinking days (p < 0.024) and heavy drinking days (p < 0.019). In addition to a statistical difference between groups, there was a 19% difference in the mean number of drinks and number of drinking days, and a 36% difference in the number of heavy drinking days in favor of the intervention group.
Conclusion: The findings of the Healthy Moms Trial support the implementation of brief alcohol intervention during the postpartum period.