Dr Deborah Loxton (Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle)
Ms Jennifer Powers (Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, University of Newcastle)
Sue Miers (National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders)
Dr Adrian Dunlop (Hunter and New England Drug and Alcohol Services)
Alcohol exposure in utero can cause a range of abnormalities in the fetus which are included under the umbrella term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Identification and treatment of problem drinking prior to and during pregnancy is recognised as an effective strategy for prevention of FASD. However, only a small proportion of pregnant women who drink at problematic levels are identified and treated. There are a variety of reasons for women not to access treatment including a lack of services, attributing their problems to mental health rather than alcohol use and issues relating to their children or partner. Given the changing patterns of alcohol consumption and harm by women, attention must be paid to the way gender stereotypes influence the prevention and treatment of alcohol related problems.
The project is complete. The final report was published in November 2013 (see 'Resources' below).
The final project report put forward the gold standard for the treatment of alcohol dependence in pregnancy. The gold standard incorporates the following principles:
Burns, L. and Breen, C. (2013) It’s time to have the conversation: Understanding the treatment needs of women who are pregnant and alcohol dependent, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney. (See 'Resources' below).
Burns, L., Breen, C. , and Dunlop A (2014) Treating alcohol use and dependency in pregnancy: progress and challenges. Australasian Fetal Alcohol Use Disorders Conference: Time to Learn, Time to Act, Brisbane 19-20 November, 2013.
Burns, L. and Breen, C. (2014) Treating pregnant women with problematic alcohol use in Australia: progress and challenges. First International Conference on the Prevention of FASD, Edmonton, September 2013.
Improving the detection and treatment for alcohol dependent women will reduce preventable FASD.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE)