Attitudes to and awareness of alcohol pregnancy warning labels

This report presents descriptive results about attitudes to labels on alcohol products that warn against drinking in pregnancy (pregnancy warning labels) for all respondents. Results for awareness of pregnancy warning labels are presented for women aged 18 to 44 years. Four questions from the Attitudes and Behaviour towards Alcohol Survey (ABAS) were analysed for this report.

The ABAS is a national survey of people aged 15 years and over about alcohol consumption patterns, alcohol-related behaviour, consequences of consuming alcohol, and attitudes. This report describes results from the 2015/16 ABAS survey, representing 4,000 respondents.

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Commissioning agencies
Date of last publication
Jun 2017

Key Results

Attitudes to pregnancy warning labels among adults aged 15 years and over

  •  The majority of respondents (78%) said ‘yes’ when asked whether messages or symbols about not drinking alcohol during pregnancy should be on all alcohol products.
  •  Support for such labels was higher among:

               - females

               - young and older adults (15 to 24-year-olds and those aged 45+ years, compared with 25 to 34-year-olds)

               - Pacific and Asian respondents (compared with those identifying as European/Other)

               - those with a relatively low household income (<$50,000 compared with >$100,000 in the previous 12 months).

Awareness of pregnancy warning labels among women aged 18 to 44 years

  •  Around a quarter (24%) of women aged 18 to 44 years reported seeing messages or symbols on alcohol products about drinking while pregnant in the past year.
  •  Fewer older women (35 to 44-year-olds compared with 18 to 24-year-olds) and Pacific or Asian women (compared with European/Other) had seen such messages or symbols.
  •  The warning label most commonly seen by women aged 18 to 44 years was a ‘picture of a pregnant lady drinking with a cross/line through’ (34% of those who had seen a warning label in the past year).
  •  Women most commonly interpreted the message from the labels they saw to be ‘do not drink while pregnant’ (74% of those who had seen a warning label in the past year).

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