Conversations about Alcohol and Pregnancy

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This study examines how the Australian media portray alcohol and pregnancy and how women
respond to mediated information and advice about drinking during pregnancy. Women’s alcohol
consumption has attracted increasing media attention in the past decade (Gentile, 2011), yet little is
known about how women interpret and respond – in terms of their consumption and information
seeking practices – to claims about the risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Health advice in
Australia states that for women who are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding, not
drinking is the safest (NHMRC, 2009). However, research shows that some women do not abstain
from alcohol while pregnant (Colvin et al., 2007).
This study was designed to address this 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCanberra
PublisherFoundation for Alcohol Research and Education
Commissioning bodyFoundation for Alcohol Research Education
Number of pages77
ISBN (Print)9780994347657
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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