strategy

Counselling pregnant women about drinking alcohol

Synonyms:
Avoiding drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Preventing foetal alcohol syndrome
Description:
Preventing women drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Communities, schools, and concerned individuals can help to prevent foetal alcohol syndrome through education and intervention.
Context:
Whenever a mother drinks, her baby is at risk for foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) or foetal alcohol effect (FAE). When a pregnant women drinks alcohol, her baby does too. It is not clear whether there is a threshold amount of alcohol that must be consumed before damage to the baby occurs. There is also no proof that small amounts of alcohol are safe.

All communities nationwide, and especially high-risk women in their childbearing years, need better information about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. But most health care providers are unfamiliar with and untrained in the issues of substance abuse among pregnant women. FAS/FAE is widely misdiagnosed and under diagnosed and very few medical schools require students to complete a course on the proper diagnosis and referral of individuals with alcoholism and other drug addictions. Broader community education is also vital. Many high-risk women do not receive adequate prenatal care. A USA study found that doctors appear less likely to tell a black woman to quit drinking and smoking during pregnancy than they are to tell a white woman. Pregnant black women were thirty percent more likely than white women to report that they had never been told to quit drinking.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 5: Gender Equality