The consumption of alcohol is widespread within Australia and entwined with many social and cultural activities. Alcohol consumption in pregnancy can lead to poorer perinatal outcomes including low birthweight, being small for gestational age, pre-term birth and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) (NHMRC 2020).
FASD refers to a range of adverse physical, learning, and behavioural effects after exposure to alcohol during pregnancy, with issues occurring into childhood and adult life (NHMRC 2020).
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises that women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol (NHMRC 2020). Support to address alcohol consumption is widely available through antenatal clinics.
Data on maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy were available for the first time in 2019. Data exclude New South Wales for both 2019 and 2020, and South Australia for 2019.
In 2020, most women did not consume alcohol in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy – ranging from 95% to 99.3% for 7 jurisdictions.
The data visualisation below presents data on alcohol consumption status of women in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and after 20 weeks of pregnancy, by selected maternal characteristics, for 2019 and 2020.