A qualitative investigation of alcohol use advice during pregnancy: Experiences of Dutch midwives, pregnant women and their partners

Nickie Y. van der Wulp*, Ciska Hoving, Hein de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: two studies aimed to explore the advice Dutch midwives give and the information Dutch pregnant women and partners of pregnant women receive about alcohol consumption in pregnancy. Design: study 1 included individual semi-structured interviews with midwives. Study 2 involved focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews with pregnant women and partners. Interview content was based on the I-Change Model. Setting: study 1 was conducted nation-wide; Study 2 was conducted in the central and southern regions of the Netherlands. Participants: 10 midwives in Study 1; 25 pregnant women and nine partners in Study 2. Measurements and findings: study 1 showed that midwives intended to advise complete abstinence, although this advice was mostly given when women indicated to consume alcohol. Midwives reported to lack good screening skills and sufficient knowledge about the mechanisms and consequences of antenatal alcohol use and did not involve partners in their alcohol advice. In Study 2, the views of pregnant women and partners were congruent to the findings reported in Study 1. In addition, pregnant women and partners considered midwives as an important source of information on alcohol in pregnancy. Partners were interested in the subject, had a liberal view on antenatal alcohol use and felt ignored by midwives and websites. Pregnant women indicated to receive conflicting alcohol advice from their health professionals. Key conclusions: midwives' alcohol advice requires improvement with regard to screening, knowledge about mechanisms and consequences of antenatal alcohol use and the involvement of the partners in alcohol advice during pregnancy. Implications for practice: training should be given to Dutch midwives to increase their screening skills and their alcohol related knowledge to pregnant women. Research is needed to determine how the midwife's alcohol advice to the partner should be framed in order to optimise the partner's involvement concerning alcohol abstinence in pregnancy. More attention to the topic at a national level, for example via mass media campaigns, should also be considered to change views about alcohol use during pregnancy in all stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E89-E98
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Pregnancy
  • Alcohol advice
  • Midwife
  • Partner

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