Alcohol and Pregnancy - Understanding the New Zealand context

28 August 2015
Pregnant woman holding a red wine glass

It has been established that exposure to alcohol can be harmful to the unborn child. Yet about one in five mothers-to-be continue to consume alcohol, according to Growing Up in New Zealand data.

The Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu) analysed data and contextual information from the study's external datasets better understand the patterns of women’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The fully-anonymised external datasets are available to external researchers and policy makers who would like to use this rich resource for their own research projects.

Superu found that 71 percent of women drank alcohol before they knew they were pregnant. Of these women who drank alcohol, two-thirds stopped once they knew they were pregnant.

Five main patterns of change of alcohol consumption during pregnancy were identified based on when women drink and how much they drink.

The results from this research will help to inform and target public health policy. Additionally the longitudinal nature of the study provides potential to better understand the long-term impact of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Growing Up in New Zealand provides potential for a host of other valuable research topics to support the development of policy.

Download the report and associated documents from the Superu website