Beliefs about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder among men and women at alcohol serving establishments in South Africa.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the world. However, little is known about what men and women who attend alcohol serving establishments believe about alcohol use during pregnancy and how these beliefs may be related to alcohol use.
To understand FASD beliefs and related behaviors among men and women attending alcohol-serving establishments.
We surveyed 1047 men (n = 565) and women (n = 482) -including pregnant women and men with pregnant partners- attending alcohol serving establishments in a township located in Cape Town, South Africa.
Among both pregnant (n = 53) and non-pregnant (n = 429) women, 54% reported drinking alcohol at least 2-4 times per month, and 57% reported having at least 3-4 alcohol drinks during a typical drinking session. Pregnant women were less likely to believe that they should not drink alcohol and that alcohol can harm a fetus when compared to non-pregnant women. Similar findings were observed between men with pregnant partners compared to men without pregnant partners. Among women, beliefs about how much alcohol pregnant women can safely drink were associated with self-reported alcohol use.
Efforts to address FASD need to focus on understanding how men and women perceive alcohol use during pregnancy and situational factors that contribute to alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending alcohol serving establishments. Structural and individual-level interventions targeting women at alcohol serving establishments should be prioritized to mitigate alcohol use during pregnancy.
Eaton, LA; Pitpitan, EV; Kalichman, SC; Sikkema, KJ; Skinner, D; Watt, MH; Pieterse, D; Cain, DN
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