Midwives and service users' perspectives on implementing a dialogue about alcohol use in antenatal care: A qualitative study

Judith Dyson*, Franklin Onukwugha, Helen Howlett, Katherine Combe, Maria Catterick, Lesley Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: There are barriers to midwives engaging in conversations about alcohol with pregnant women. Our aim was to capture the views of midwives and service users to co-create strategies to address these barriers. Design: Qualitative description. Methods: Structured Zoom-based focus group interviews of midwives and service users where we presented known barriers and sought solutions to midwives discussing alcohol use in antenatal settings. Data collection took place between July and August 2021. Results: Fourteen midwives and six service users attended five focus groups. Barriers considered were as follows: (i) lack of awareness of guidelines, (ii) poor skills in difficult conversations, (iii) lack of confidence, (iv) lack of belief in existing evidence, (v) women would not listen to their advice, and (vi) alcohol conversations were not considered part of their role. Five strategies to address barriers to midwives discussing alcohol with pregnant women were identified. These were as follows: Training that included mothers of children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, champion midwives, a service user questionnaire about alcohol for completion before the consultation, questions about alcohol added to the maternity data capture template and a structured appraisal to provide a means of audit and feedback on their alcohol dialogue with women. Conclusions: Co-creation involving providers and users of maternity services yielded theoretically underpinned pragmatic strategies to support midwives to ask advise assist about alcohol during antenatal care. Future research will test if the strategies can be delivered in antenatal care settings, and if they are acceptable to service providers and service users. Impact: If these strategies are effective in addressing barriers to midwives discussing alcohol with pregnant women, this could support women to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy, thus reducing alcohol-related maternal and infant harm. Patient and public contribution: Service users were involved in the design and execution of the study, considering data, supporting intervention design and delivery and dissemination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2955-2966
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number8
Early online date2 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

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