37.7% of midwives and nurse-midwives think drinking alcohol is sometimes safe during pregnancy, study finds

Many midwives and nurse-midwives underestimate the danger of alcohol consumption for pregnant mothers, according to a study published June 11 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The study's authors sent a survey to about 6,000 American midwives, nurse practitioners and nurses who provide prenatal care who were recruited via email from the American College of Nurse-Midwives, of whom 578 responded. Participants were asked about their knowledge of the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, how often pregnant women use alcohol and screening patients for alcohol use. 

They found 37.7 percent of respondents believe it is safe to drink alcohol during at least one trimester of pregnancy and just 35.2 percent reported screening patients for alcohol use. Of the 23.3 percent who used a specific screening tool, only a few used tools recommended for pregnant women.

Midwives and nurse-midwives must receive better education about the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and the availability of screening tools to improve detection and intervention, the study's authors wrote.

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