Background: Alcohol use during pregnancy has been associated with serious health risks to the fetus and maternal complications. While previous systematic reviews of digital interventions in pregnancy have targeted smoking cessation and influenza vaccination, few studies have sought to assess their effectiveness in preventing alcohol use in pregnancy.
Goal: This systematic review aims to assess (1) whether digital interventions are effective in preventing alcohol use during pregnancy/pregnancy planning, and (2) the differential effectiveness of alternative digital intervention platforms ( i.e. computers, mobiles and text messaging services).
Methods : PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science were searched for studies with digital interventions aimed at preventing alcohol use in pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant. A primary random-effects meta-analysis was performed to estimate the size of the combined effect and the extent to which different digital platforms were successful in preventing alcohol use during pregnancy.
Results: Six studies were identified and included in the final review. The primary meta-analysis produced a weighted odds ratio (OR) per sample of 0.62 (95% CI 0.42-0.91; P=.02) in favor of digital interventions decreasing the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy compared to controls. Computer/internet interventions (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.38-0.93) were an effective platform for preventing alcohol use. Too few text messaging studies (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.29-2.52) were available to draw a conclusion.
Conclusion : Overall, our review highlights the potential of digital interventions to prevent alcohol use among pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant. Given the benefits of digital interventions in promoting healthy behavior changes, future research is needed to understand how certain platforms can increase user engagement and the effectiveness of interventions to prevent women from consuming alcohol during their pregnancy.