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Alcohol and Pregnancy

No alcohol in pregnancy is the safest choice

The 'No Alcohol During Pregnancy is the Safest Choice' campaign, originally launched in June 2012, is the first West Australian campaign to target alcohol use during pregnancy in the general population.

The campaign messages were based on findings from the Healthway and National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded research conducted by Edith Cowan University with pregnant women and women of childbearing age in Perth, which identified communication messages to increase women's intentions to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. The key message of the campaign was based on the NHMRC recommendation that for women who are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. 1

The campaign was a joint initiative of the Drug and Alcohol Office (DAO) and the Injury Control Council of WA (ICCWA).

Key message

No alcohol during pregnancy is the safest choice.

Target groups

Primary: Women of child-bearing age (25 to 39 years)
Secondary: General community aged 25 to 54 years.

Campaign objectives

To create and reinforce the beliefs that:

  • If you are pregnant you should reduce your alcohol intake, with abstinence as the primary goal. 2
  • Alcohol consumption is something that (most) pregnant women can control and that reduction or abstinence from alcohol will support the health of the pregnancy and baby. 3
  • No alcohol during pregnancy is the safest option.
  • Challenge the belief that 'a couple of drinks every now and then' are risk-free.
  • Potential risk to the fetus increases with the amount and frequency alcohol is consumed. There is even a risk of harm to the fetus even when a woman doesn't feel drunk.
  • Alcohol consumption is related to negative short-term and long-term effects for the pregnancy and fetus. 1

Evaluation

Post-campaign evaluation found that:

  • A high number of women correctly recalled the key messages of the campaign.
  • Approximately three out of four women who had seen the campaign felt that it made them consider the health effects of drinking alcohol whilst pregnant, and that it made them concerned about the effect that alcohol can have on an unborn child.
  • The majority of women reported that they would be extremely likely to stop drinking alcohol completely if they became pregnant in the future.
  • The majority of those who currently drink alcohol and intend to have a future pregnancy report that they would not drink alcohol at all if pregnant.
  • Approximately six in ten would stop drinking completely if trying to become pregnant in the future, whilst approximately three in ten would reduce their consumption instead.
  • Approximately half reported that they felt somewhat more confident that they could stop drinking alcohol completely if pregnant after seeing the campaign.

Resources

For further information, speak to your health professional or call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service. Resources can be ordered using this Order Form

Campaign Video 60 second Television Commercial

30 second Television Commercial

Related Information

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Alcohol can affect the growth of the baby in pregnancy. For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.


Strong Spirit Strong Future

Strong Spirit Strong Mind promotes the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture as a central strength in guiding efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harm.


References

1 National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol: Commonwealth of Australia. Page 5. Available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/ds10

2 Peadon, E, Payne, J, Henley, N, D'Antoine, H, Bartu, A, O'Leary, C, Bower, C, & Elliott, EJ. (2010). Women's knowledge and attitudes regarding alcohol consumption in pregnancy: a national survey. BMC Public Health, 10, 510.

3 France, K. (2011) Creating Persuasive Messages to Promote Abstinence from Alcohol During Pregnancy. Theses: Doctorates and Masters. Paper 413. http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/413