Australian Survey Results: Information from Health Professionals
Last year, NOFASD Australia conducted an online survey to determine the extent to which Australian women were provided with information about the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy, and how they perceived social pressure to consume alcohol while pregnant.
The survey was randomly advertised on Facebook and was completed by 275 women aged between 18-40 years, located across Australia. A large majority (82%) of survey participants had been pregnant at some point, and 30% were pregnant at the time of completing the survey.
Survey results found that nearly half these women did not receive health professional information about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The results are listed below:
- 47% of women reported that a GP had never spoken to them about alcohol use and pregnancy.
- 44% of women reported that no other health professional (e.g. a midwife or nurse) had spoken to them about the risk of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
- Only 14% received information about the risks of alcohol use while pregnant before conceiving.
- Less than half (45%) reported that a GP discussed the harms of alcohol use once their pregnancy was confirmed and only 48% received information from another health professional once their pregnancy was confirmed.
The findings of this survey are concerning given that health professional advice is one of the most influential factors in a woman’s decision making process. Of particular concern is the fact that only 14% of women had conversations prior to becoming pregnant, given the significant risks of FASD and other alcohol-related harms during the period between conception and pregnancy recognition. The results of this survey highlight the need for more awareness of these risks before women conceive. Findings from this survey also suggest that health professionals may need training to learn how to approach conversations with women about the harms of alcohol consumption while pregnant, and to improve confidence when having these conversations.
To learn more about the risks of alcohol consumption while pregnant, visit the NOFASD Australia website.
If you are a health professional and would like to enquire about FASD training (face-to-face or online), including how to have conversations with women about their alcohol consumption, click here.
Prenatal alcohol exposure and risk of birth defects. Read article
Prenatal Alcohol Consumption Between Conception and Recognition of Pregnancy. Read article
Late recognition of pregnancy as a predictor of adverse birth outcomes. Read article
Health professionals’ knowledge, practice and opinions about fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol consumption in pregnancy. Read article
Changes in health professionals’ knowledge, attitudes and practice following provision of educational resources about prevention of prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Read article
Read more NOFASD Australia blogs