During the past two decades, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have changed its recommendations about drinking alcohol during pregnancy. These changes have led to fallacies about the safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, with some women still believing it is safe to drink during pregnancy. This category 2 activity aims to encourage GPs to routinely discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women, and to provide advice that is consistent with NHMRC guidelines. This activity was developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in collaboration with the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and is a key component of the Women Want to Know campaign. The campaign was developed by FARE in collaboration with leading health professional bodies across Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. For more information on the Women Want to Know project and to order project resources visit www.alcohol.gov.au.
Relevance to General Practice
General practitioners (GPs) play a pivotal role in addressing alcohol use in women who are pregnant, are planning a pregnancy, or are of childbearing age. Topics covered in this activity include drinking patterns of Australian women, the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy, strategies for addressing alcohol use in pregnant women, and the indications for referral and use of support services.
- describe the drinking patterns of Australian women before and during pregnancy
- explain the effects of alcohol on prenatal and postnatal development, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
- assess women's alcohol consumption using validated tools
- provide clear evidence-based advice to women about alcohol consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding
- describe how and when to refer women who require further support.
Domains of General Practice
D1. Communication skills and the patient-doctor relationship
D2. Applied professional knowledge and skills
D3. Population health and the context of general practice
D4. Professional and ethical role
D5. Organisational and legal dimensions
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education