In a recent article on alcohol consumption among first time mothers, the authors used an observational study to investigate their research question. The data used was collected from the MoBa prospective pregnancy cohort from 1999-2008 (Dale, Bakketeig, & Magnus, 2016). After their first ultrasound women were invited to participate through a mailed invitation. The survey asked participants about their alcohol consumption during the previous 3 months. Qualifying information such as education, smoking and exercise information were also included. The chosen methods are appropriate as it allows for potential dependent variables to be identified. The data collected is both quantitative and qualitative. An example of quantitative data is the number of drinks consumed and gestational week, whereas an example of qualitative data is smoking during pregnancy (Dale et al., 2016).
Analysis of the data was conducted with PASW software from SPSS. For continuous (quantitative) variables an analysis of variance (ANOVA) test was conducted to determine P values. For categorical (qualitative) variables a chi squared test was used. As well, covariate analysis was conducted to determine which variables were confounding (Dale et al., 2016). One potential weakness is that it is an observational study. As such there were confounding variables which were identified making it difficult to truly ascertain the effects of alcohol consumption on pregnancy. For example it was found that drinkers had a higher education and better score than non-drinkers. The key demographics in this study were all women who became pregnant for the first time in Norway who went for ultrasounds at gestational weeks 17 to 18 between 1999 and 2008. Subjects with missing data about alcohol consumption were excluded as well subjects with births before 22 weeks were also excluded (Dale et al., 2016). Overall while this study provided insight into the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, more research is needed in order to confirm the results.
- Dale, M. T., Bakketeig, L. S., & Magnus, P. (2016). Alcohol consumption among first-time mothers and the risk of preterm birth: a cohort study. Annals of epidemiology, 26(4), 275-282.