Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Conversations about alcohol and pregnancy

Posted on: 14 September, 2015
Issue: Vol 15 No 3, July 2015 – September 2015
Related to Women Pregnancy Alcohol use Research

Holland K, McCallum K, Blood RW (2015)
Conversations about alcohol and pregnancy
Canberra: Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education

This study examines how the Australian media portray alcohol and pregnancy and how women respond to mediated information and advice about drinking during pregnancy.

The study was designed to address a research gap using qualitative research (including textual analyses of news reports, interviews and focus groups) to explore women’s understanding of drinking alcohol in pregnancy and how they interpret media portrayals of the issue. It involved a framing analysis of 110 items from online and print newspapers, parenting and pregnancy websites and television news and current affairs about alcohol and pregnancy between 1 January 2013 and 31 October 2014.This was complemented by interviews and focus groups with 20 women based in Canberra, who were currently pregnant, had young children, or were planning for pregnancy.

Conclusions drawn from the study show women distance themselves from messages about alcohol and pregnancy that they see as alarmist or extreme. By countering alarmist news told through the ‘blame risk-taking mothers’ frame, public health organisations can help to raise awareness about the risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. These are issues confronting the community as a whole, and therefore must be addressed as whole-of-community concerns.

Abstract adapted from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

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