Oral Presentation Society of Obstetric Medicine of Australia and New Zealand ASM 2015

Women Want to Know: Alcohol Consumption and Pregnancy  (#12)

Barri Phatarfod 1 , Mearon O'Brien 1 , Sarah Ward 1 , Prof Elizabeth J Elliott, MD 2 3 , Michael Thorn 1
  1. Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Deakin, ACT, Australia
  2. Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. Professor of Paediatrics & Child Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Alcohol use in pregnancy is common. Research by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and The University of Sydney found most health professionals (HP) believe women should be informed about potential harms to the fetus from alcohol consumption during pregnancy. However, fewer than half (45%) routinely ask about alcohol consumption and most did not provide advice.The objective of the Women Want to Know project was to develop materials to assist HP to talk to women who are pregnant, or planning pregnancy, about alcohol consumption and to provide advice consistent with Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to reduce the health risks from drinking (Guidelines).Women Want to Know is the first national project promoting the Guidelines since their 2009 revision. Methods:The Australian Department of Health commissioned the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), an Australian not-for-profit, to develop Women Want to Know. This was achieved over 18 months of research and consultation including a literature review and audit of existing resources. A consultation and pre-intervention survey with 300 HP was conducted to establish current practice. Women Want to Know was developed collaboratively with HP and professional organisations, including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Australian College of Midwives, Australian Medical Association, and the Australian Medicare Locals Alliance. A consumer representative from the Maternity Coalition was also involved in the project. Results:The pre-intervention survey indicated most (70%) HP discuss safety of alcohol during pregnancy, but over half (56%) expressed difficulties in undertaking these conversations. Only 33% were familiar with the Alcohol Guidelines content.Evidence-based resources were developed to assist HP initiate conversations about alcohol.Conclusion:To help prevent FASD, HP must have relevant skills and knowledge. Resources from the Women Want to Know project assist HP in asking women about alcohol use and providing advice to minimise harm to the fetus.