Reducing harms related to alcohol use in pregnancy: policy and practice recommendations (Deeble Institute)

With the NHMRC Guidelines currently under review and the National Alcohol Strategy and FASD Strategic Action Plan in development, it is timely to consider how health sector policy and practice can be effectively used to address antenatal alcohol use in Australia.

Major barriers to the prevention of PAE and FASD include a lack of public awareness of the Alcohol Guidelines and the risks associated with PAE, as well as limitations in antenatal alcohol screening and data collection. With the NHMRC Guidelines currently under review and the National Alcohol Strategy and FASD Strategic Action Plan in development, it is timely to consider how health sector policy and practice can be effectively used to address antenatal alcohol use in Australia.

Major recommendations include:

  • The provision of clear, coherent and targeted messaging through policy, practice guidelines, position statements, and mainstream media that there is no established safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
  • The consistent implementation of universal alcohol screening practices prior to pregnancy and throughout the antenatal period.
  • Ongoing capacity building within the health workforce to support clinicians to effectively screen for, advise about and provide appropriate intervention for PAE.
  • The introduction of systematic reporting of alcohol in pregnancy data, to the Perinatal National Data Collection, to support the development of evidence-based policy and prevention approaches.

    Deeble Institute Report

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