Access evidence-informed information, education, training or support to abstain from alcohol consumption prior and during pregnancy
The Alcohol and Pregnancy toolkit refers to a suite of resources (e.g. awareness raising campaigns and education programs) in which parents-to-be and their families can access evidence-informed information, education, training or support to abstain from alcohol consumption prior to and during pregnancy. The objective of Alcohol and Pregnancy activities is to protect the unborn child from alcohol harms and improve the developing child’s outcomes by increasing the parent’s knowledge, skills or capacity to abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
The activities are designed to be delivered to Australian men and women of reproductive age, including pregnant women and their partners, family and friends.
They are particularly beneficial for pregnant women and their partners. In Australia, one in four women consume alcohol while pregnant. Three-quarters of pregnant women who drink are most likely to drink in their own home with their partner, with the partner initiating the drinking occasion 40% of the time. Australian women are less likely to drink alcohol during their pregnancy if their partner or spouse also stopped drinking.
Couples in the process of family planning would also be a key audience. Targeting people who are planning a family is important so people have the best chance of having a healthy baby. Around half of all pregnancies are unplanned, about half of pregnant women consume alcohol prior to knowing they are pregnant.
The Alcohol and Pregnancy toolkit aims to help protect unborn children from alcohol and drug-related harm by increasing the confidence, skills and knowledge of parents to abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can affect the unborn baby and is associated with a range of adverse consequences, including miscarriage, still or premature birth, low birth weights and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). For these reasons, Australian health guidelines recommend that not drinking alcohol is the safest option while pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
By strengthening parents’ skills, capacity and confidence to abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy, parents can give their children the best possible start in life which can be an effective way to improve a range of social and health outcomes.
The prenatal period when developing babies are growing in their mother’s womb is a critical time of child development and growth, which determines the health outcomes of the baby at birth and also influences future life development, health and emotional wellbeing.
Having an alcohol-free pregnancy helps to protect both the pregnant mother and her developing baby from immediate and long-term health risks and alcohol-related harms. Evidence-informed alcohol and pregnancy activities are effective at improving parenting practices and child development. Even if they produce a small reduction in alcohol consumption during pregnancy, this can make a big difference for the mother and baby.