A new study has found that almost 40 per cent of women still drink during pregnancy despite health warnings suggesting it may not be safe.
Pregnancy is often one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in a woman's life and it can also be a steep learning curve.
Learning that you are expecting can bring with it any range of feelings from joy and elation to fear or personal doubts.
Yet for many women it is the day-to-day reality of pregnancy that can be fraught with its own difficulties.
It may mean having to change or break a few bad habits in order to make sure that you maintain optimum physical health.
Others have to learn to cut back on rigorous gym routines or exercising at a high level of intensity.
However, a number of Australian women are having a hard time adapting to their new lifestyle in preparation for the big event.
A new study, which was conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), has found that 18 per cent of women smoked and 38 per cent of women drank alcohol while pregnant.
And while young mothers were more likely to light up a cigarette, it was older women that were turning to alcohol.
With 37 per cent of mothers under the age of 25 and ten per cent of those aged 30 or above smoking during pregnancy.
Alcohol use was also examined although frequency was not taken into account which may influence results – but 44 per cent of mothers over 30 reported having a drink.
The results are based on data generated by the Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children report, which tracked the progress of more than 10,000 kids since 2004.
Dr Ben Edwards, a LSAC manager at the AIFS, said that age played an important role in the lifestyle choices of mothers.
"The early childhood health experiences of these newborns and young children varied depending on where their families live, the age of their mother and whether their parents are well off or struggling financially," he said.
The organisation released some of its key findings today (November 15) in the hope it would help women and those supporting them to develop new strategies to make safe health choices.
Dr Edwards also suggested that some public health warnings may have led to confusion about how much alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy, saying the jury was still out on whether low to moderate consumption levels are dangerous at this time.