Alcohol use during pregnancy in Rakai, Uganda

Adriane Wynn, Dorean Nabukalu, Tom Lutalo, Maria Wawer, Larry W. Chang, Susan M. Kiene, Dav M. Serwadda, Nelson Sewankambo, Fred Nalugoda, Godfrey Kigozi, Jennifer A. Wagman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Antenatal alcohol use is linked to adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Uganda has one of the highest rates of alcohol use in sub-Saharan Africa, but the prevalence of antenatal alcohol use has not been reported in the Rakai region. Methods We used cross-sectional data from pregnant women in the Rakai Community Cohort Study between March 2017 and September 2018. Using bivariate and multivariable analyses, we assessed associations between self-reported antenatal alcohol use and sociodemographic characteristics, intimate partner violence (IPV), and HIV status. Results Among 960 pregnant women, the median age was 26 years, 35% experienced IPV in the past 12 months, 13% were living with HIV, and 33% reported alcohol use during their current pregnancy. After adjusting for marital status, education, smoking, and HIV status; Catholic religion (AOR: 3.54; 95% CI: 1.89-6.64; compared to other), bar/restaurant work (AOR: 2.40; 95% CI: 1.17-4.92; compared to agriculture), >one sex partner in past year (AOR: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.17-3.16), a partner that drank before sex in past year (AOR: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.48-2.74), and past year IPV (AOR: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.14-2.11) were associated with antenatal alcohol use. Conclusion We found that alcohol use during pregnancy was common and associated with religion, occupation, higher numbers of past year sex partners, having a partner who drank before sex in the past 12 months, and IPV experience. More research is needed to understand the quantity, frequency, and timing of antenatal alcohol use; and potential impacts on neonates; and to identify services that are acceptable and effective among pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0256434
JournalPloS one
Issue number8 August 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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