Almost a third of New Zealand women continue to drink even after they've found out they're pregnant, a new study shows.
While the majority of those women stopped consuming alcohol after the first trimester, around 11 percent of the 6800 expectant mothers surveyed said they continued to drink until their child was born.
Almost one in three women did not drink at all before or during the course of their pregnancy, according to data from the Growing Up in New Zealand study.
Smokers, Maori and those from impoverished backgrounds were highly represented in the two percent of women that continued to drink heavily until childbirth. Those in this category were nearly four times more likely to smoke and three times as likely to not have a high school certificate.
But despite that, the analysis by the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit concluded that there was a strong, across-the-board intention to reduce alcohol intake when becoming pregnant.
"The challenge for public health is how to help these women translate this good intention into successfully stopping drinking as early as possible during their pregnancy," the report's authors concluded.
"Women who made changes slowly will need to be incentivised differently from those who made changes quickly.
"Women who drifted or regressed will need to be supported at the critical times to stop them from reverting back to drinking."
HOW MUCH DO EXPECTANT NEW ZEALAND MOTHERS DRINK?
- 29 percent did not drink before or during pregnancy
- 43 percent stopped drinking after learning they were pregnant
- 16 percent stopped drinking later in their pregnancy
- 9 percent drank intermittently
- 2 percent drank consistently
Source: Growing Up in New Zealand survey