Antenatal care in Sweden involves a visit in pregnancy week 6-7 for counseling about lifestyle issues, including alcohol. The aim of this study was to investigate alcohol consumption among partners of pregnant women, their motives for changing drinking patterns when becoming a parent and their perceptions of the midwife's counseling about alcohol.
The study was conducted at 30 antenatal care centers across Sweden in 2009-2010. All partners who accompanied a pregnant women in pregnancy week >17 were asked to participate. The questionnaire included questions on alcohol consumption.
Questionnaires from 444 partners were analyzed. Most, 95 %, of the partners reported alcohol consumption before pregnancy; 18 % were binge drinking (6 standard drinks or more per occasion, each drink containing 12 grams of pure alcohol) at least once every month during the last year. More than half, 58 %, of all partners had decreased their alcohol consumption following pregnancy recognition and a higher proportion of binge drinkers decreased their consumption compared to non-frequent binge drinkers (p?=?0.025). Their motives varied; the pregnancy itself, fewer social gatherings (potentially involving alcohol consumption) and a sense of responsibility for the pregnant partner were reported. Of the partners, 37 % reported support for decreased drinking from others (pregnant partner, parents, friend or workmates). Further, most partners appreciated the midwife's counseling on alcohol.
A majority of partners decreased their alcohol consumption in transition to parenthood, which also appears to be a crucial time for changing alcohol-drinking patterns. The partners with higher AUDIT-C scores reported more support for decreased drinking. Most partners appreciated the midwife's talk about alcohol and pregnancy and those who filled out AUDIT in early pregnancy reported that the counseling was more engaging. During pregnancy it is possible to detect partners with high alcohol consumption, and promote interventions for decreased drinking, also for the partners. Written information addressing alcohol use and directed to partners is needed.