Norwegian Women Least Likely to Drink During Pregnancy


A study of over 7,000 women in 11 European countries shows the proportion of women in Europe who drink alcohol when they know they are pregnant is lowest in Norway. The countries with the highest proportion of women who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the 11 countries were the UK (28.5 %), Russia (26.5 %) and Switzerland (20.9 %). Ireland was not among the countries studied. On average, 16 per cent of women in the 11 European countries reported that they drank alcohol after they knew that they were pregnant. The countries with the lowest proportion of women who reported alcohol consumption were Norway (4.1 %), Sweden (7.2 %) and Poland (9.7 %).


Women who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy were more likely to be older, more highly educated, in employment, and had smoked before pregnancy than women who did not report this consumption.


Although the British population in general drink more than Norwegians, the study found that countries with a comparable drinking culture to the UK—like Poland and France—had relatively low proportions of women drinking during pregnancy. Therefore, the drinking culture in the overall population may not necessarily apply to those who are pregnant.


Of those women who said they drank alcohol during pregnancy, 39 per cent consumed at least one unit of alcohol per month. Those who drank most frequently (more than one to two units per week) were in Italy (7.8 % of the women said they drank during pregnancy) and the UK (2.8 %).


Those who drank the least (1-2 units during the whole pregnancy) were in Norway and Sweden (over 80 % of the women who said they drank during pregnancy) and France, Poland, Finland and Russia (70-80 %). Therefore, even though a larger proportion of Russian women continue to drink during pregnancy, compared to the other countries they do not actually drink that much. The women who drink during pregnancy in Italy seem to drink a lot more than the women in the other countries. Again, this may be due to a combination of factors.


The study consisted of 7,905 women, 53 per cent were pregnant, and 46 per cent were new mothers (with a child up to one-year-old). The countries included were Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Science Daily. April 11. Women and Birth. January.

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter, Lifezine.

Sustain Our Efforts

Contribute to F&L's publishing efforts with a donation today.

Donate Now