Alcohol Cessation in Pregnancy

Maternal-child nursing is a critical field that focuses on the health needs of women during pregnancy and birth. It goes further to empower medical professionals to provide evidence-based care to newborn babies. Professionals in this specialty focus on the psychological, physical, neonatal, and political issues affecting the health outcomes of childbearing women. One of the outstanding problems that make it impossible for pregnant women to get normal or healthy babies is that of alcoholism. Using Janine’s case, the purpose of this paper is to describe this problem and offer evidence-based concepts for promoting cessation.

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Alcoholism in Pregnancy


The problem of alcohol use during pregnancy has continued to attract the attention of different researchers, health professionals, and scientists. Bhat and Hadley (2015) indicate that alcoholism is not a major problem or issue during pregnancy. A study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that around 8.5 percent of women consumed alcohol at least once a month during pregnancy (DeVido, Bogunovic, & Weiss, 2015). Some analysts have gone further to argue that many women might feel motivated to either reduce or increase alcohol intake after conception. This remains the case since alcohol consumption during pregnancy can affect the woman.

The case of Janine, a 25-year-old pregnant woman, reveals that alcoholism is a major challenge today in this at-risk population. Maternity-nurses working with these individuals will encounter diverse challenges when trying to support them. Firstly, many alcoholic pregnant women would be reluctant to get rid of this malpractice (DeVido et al., 2015). This is a psychological problem Janie is experiencing currently. Secondly, the majority of these women would argue that alcohol is good for overcoming stress.


The problem of alcoholism in pregnant women goes further to affect the unborn baby. According to Campbell (2019), this malpractice is inappropriate since it affects fetal development. The unborn baby will be unable to have a normal growth curve. Due to the challenges associated with alcoholism, the fetus will have to endure similar problems. This means that some psychological issues might emerge whereby the baby might become unresponsive. Chances are high that such women will eventually give birth to children with poor concentration levels and mental capabilities. They might remain disturbed and develop numerous complications. Some scholars have gone further to identify alcoholism as a leading risk factor for miscarriages in pregnancy.

From a physiological perspective, the fetus might suffer from malnutrition, develop weak bones, and affect the number of nutrients available from the mother. Any physiological harm to the mother will also have significant implications on the fetus. Nonetheless, nurses practicing in this field can use their competencies and ideas to guide and empower more women who are affected by alcoholism (Bhat & Hadley, 2015). When such initiatives are implemented successfully, chances are high that the targeted women and their fetuses will record normal or improved developmental patterns. Such women will eventually have increased chances of giving birth to healthy babies.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) have also been recorded in many children born by alcoholic women (“Alcohol use in pregnancy,” n.d.). Some of these conditions include language and speech delays, reduced judgment or reasoning abilities, hyperactivity, and difficulty in paying attention (Bhat & Hadley, 2015). Other possible outcomes include deformed physical features, less birth weight, and a small head.


Alcoholism is a challenge that can affect mothers and their children. Those who drink alcohol will have reduced chances of taking good care of their bodies and fetuses. The fetuses will lack the relevant nutrients and might develop numerous complications (Kesmodel, 2016). Many pregnant women will become fatigued and even ignore the use of specific supplements.

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Role of Health Professionals


It is appropriate for those working in the field of maternal-child nursing to consider various initiatives that will result in cessation. Firstly, they can guide and educate women like Janine about the challenges associated with alcoholism (Pettigrew et al., 2016). They can introduce and describe the above health problems and possible FASDs (Popova, Lange, Probst, Gmel, & Rehm, 2017). This kind of information or knowledge will encourage them to consider the relevance of stopping the malpractice (Kesmodel, 2016). This strategy is capable of delivering positive results by discouraging Janine and other women engaged in this malpractice to focus on the wellbeing of their babies.


Secondly, those who have been addicted can be supported and counseled in an attempt to lead high-quality lives. Professionals in maternal-child nursing can collaborate with psychologists and therapists to ensure that positive ideas are available to Janine and other clients (Parackal, Parackal, & Harraway, 2019). Through behavioral therapy, the majority of the beneficiaries will be in a position to overcome this burden and eventually give birth to healthy babies. DeVido et al. (2015) encourage maternal-child nurses to be supportive and provide additional insights to them. This approach is essential and capable of empowering more beneficiaries and making it easier for them to achieve their aims.


Thirdly, the use of medication is an evidence-based strategy for treating and empowering Janine since she drinks wine. Naltrexone is one of the reliable drugs available to individuals who want to reduce their alcohol intake levels (Popova et al., 2017). This medicine will ensure that Janine has no desire for alcohol. The drug is also appropriate since it ensures that a person remains sober for more hours (Berg, Piper, Smith, Fiore, & Jorenby, 2015). Although it might provide a permanent solution or result in complete cessation, it can be combined with other techniques to ensure that more pregnant women achieve their aims.


Pregnant women should get adequate support from different professionals to reduce their intake. Medical practitioners should continue to monitor the health of the individuals and their fetuses continuously and offer timely empowerment (McBride, Carruthers, & Hutchinson, 2012). This kind of practice can be combined with social and psychological support to deliver positive results. Family members and other caregivers can be involved in this process to meet the needs of both the mother and the baby.


Alcoholism in pregnancy is a complex issue that affects the medical experiences and outcomes of both the fetus and the woman. Nurses working in the field of maternal health should apply their competencies to implement evidence-based strategies that can result in cessation. They should also work closely with Janine to ensure that positive support and empowerment are available to her. These opportunities should also be available to all other expectant women. Some of the proposed ones include the use of therapy, medication, and personalized action plan. Professionals can consider such strategies to deliver positive results and increase the chances of giving birth to healthy babies.


Alcohol use in pregnancy. (n.d.). Web.

Berg, K. M., Piper, M. E., Smith, S. S., Fiore, M. C., & Jorenby, D. E. (2015). Defining and predicting short-term alcohol use changes during a smoking cessation attempt. Addictive Behaviors, 48, 52-57. Web.

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Bhat, A., & Hadley, A. (2015). The management of alcohol withdrawal in pregnancy — Case report, literature review and preliminary recommendations. General Hospital Psychiatry, 27(3), 273.e1-273.e3. Web.

Campbell, D. (2019). Alcohol industry ‘puts pregnant women at risk’, researchers say. The Guardian. Web.

DeVido, J., Bogunovic, O., & Weiss, R. D. (2015). Alcohol use disorders in pregnancy. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 23(2), 112-121. Web.

Kesmodel, U. S. (2016). Risks and guidelines for the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. World Journal Obstetrics Gynecology, 5(2), 162-174. Web.

McBride, N., Carruthers, S., & Hutchinson, D. (2012). Reducing Alcohol Use during Pregnancy: Listening to Women Who Drink as an Intervention Starting Point. Global Health Promotion, 19(2), 6-18. Web.

Parackal, S., Parackal, M., & Harraway, J. (2019). Associated factors of drinking prior to recognising pregnancy and risky drinking among New Zealand women aged 18 to 35 years. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(10), 1822-1837. Web.

Pettigrew, S., Jongenelis, M., Chikritzhs, T., Pratt, I. S., Slevin, T., & Glance, S. (2016). A Comparison of Alcohol Consumption Intentions among Pregnant Drinkers and Their Nonpregnant Peers of Child-Bearing Age. Substance Use & Misuse, 51(11), 1421-1427. Web.

Popova, S., Lange, S., Probst, C., Gmel, G., & Rehm, J. (2017). Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet: Global Health, 5(3), PE290-PE290. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 10). Alcohol Cessation in Pregnancy. Retrieved from

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