The Postpartum Period: An Opportunity for Alcohol Screening and Counseling to Reduce Adverse Health Impacts

J Addict Med. 2023 Sep-Oct;17(5):528-535. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000001169. Epub 2023 Mar 31.


Objectives: The postpartum period presents an opportunity to engage in discussions about alcohol consumption and related health harms. This study examined the prevalence of alcohol consumption among a sample of postpartum persons with a recent live birth and screening and brief intervention (alcohol SBI) or counseling by their providers.

Methods: We analyzed 2019 data from a telephone survey conducted 9 to 10 months postpartum among individuals who responded to the standard Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey in 6 states. Weighted prevalence estimates were calculated for alcohol consumption and alcohol SBI after birth through up to 10 months postpartum.

Results: Among 1790 respondents, 53.1% reported consuming alcohol postpartum. Among those who drank postpartum, 70.8% reported being asked about alcohol use by a healthcare provider. Slightly more than half of respondents who drank postpartum and were trying to get pregnant (52.4%) or were not using birth control at the time of the survey (59.8%) reported being asked about alcohol use. Approximately 25% of respondents who drank alcohol postpartum were advised about risky alcohol levels by a healthcare provider. Small proportions of individuals who drank alcohol postpartum and were pregnant or trying to get pregnant at the time of the survey were advised to reduce or stop drinking alcohol (10.6% and 2.3%, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings suggest missed opportunities to promote health and prevent adverse alcohol-related health outcomes during the postpartum period through evidence-based tools such as alcohol SBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment