Aims: Alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) are the direct cause of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). This study examines drinking patterns among pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age in Russia, a country with one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Seven public women's clinics in two locations: St Petersburg (SPB) and the Nizhny Novgorod region (NNR).
Participants: A total of 648 pregnant and non-pregnant childbearing-age women.
Measurements: A face-to-face structured interview assessed alcohol consumption, pregnancy status/possibility of becoming pregnant and consumption before and after pregnancy recognition.
Findings: Eighty-nine per cent of non-pregnant women reported consuming alcohol and 65% reported binge drinking in the past 3 months; 47% in NNR and 28% in SPB reported binges at least monthly. Women who might become pregnant consumed alcohol similarly to women who were not likely to become pregnant, and 32% of women in SPB and 54% in NNR were categorized as at risk for AEP. There was a significant decline in drinking after pregnancy identification. Twenty per cent of pregnant women reported consuming alcohol and 6% in SBP (none in NNR) reported binge drinking; however, a high prevalence of binge drinking was found among women who might become pregnant or who were trying to conceive.
Conclusions: Russian women substantially reduce drinking after pregnancy recognition compared to pre-pregnancy levels. No reductions were found prior to pregnancy recognition, either when a woman might become pregnant or when she was trying to conceive. The pre-conception period presents a risk window and, therefore, a prevention opportunity.
© 2011 The Authors, Addiction © 2011 Society for the Study of Addiction.