Objective: This study compared the rates of binge drinking and alcohol use disorder reported for 2006 with those reported for 2012, exploring their associations with unprotected sex, early pregnancy and abortion, in a representative sample of women within the Brazilian household.
Methods: This was a descriptive analysis of data from a cross-sectional study involving randomised multistage cluster sampling of the population ≥ 14 years of age. Weighted prevalence rates and odds ratios were estimated, and serial mediation analysis was performed.
Results: 4,256 women were analysed. The prevalence of binge drinking was 35.1% and 47.1% in 2006 and 2012, respectively, the increase being significant, especially among women 40–59 years of age. There was no significant difference in terms of the prevalence of alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking (without alcohol use disorder) was found to increase the odds of unprotected sex and abortion. The path analysis showed that early pregnancy was a mediator of the relationship between alcohol consumption and abortion.
Conclusion: Among women in Brazil, the harmful use of alcohol is increasing, which has an impact on female reproductive health and exposure to risks. There is a need for specific prevention initiatives focussing on alcohol-related behaviours in women.