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A guide to alcohol advice during pregnancy and breastfeeding - empowering you to support your patients to go alcohol-free

24 January 2024 - Joanna Le

Understanding the risks of alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Misinformation about alcohol consumption during these critical periods is problematic. It’s crucial that women receive advice rooted in the latest evidence. Alarmingly, studies show that one in seven women continue to consume alcohol after learning about their pregnancy. Furthermore, one in four women, either pregnant or considering pregnancy, are unaware of the risks of alcohol consumption, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The role of health professionals in addressing alcohol consumption

Health professionals play a vital role in educating and supporting families about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

The Every Moment Matters eLearning course is designed to help you effectively engage in conversations about alcohol, assess alcohol use during pregnancy, and provide evidence-based support with up-to-date information on:

  • The risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, conception, and while breastfeeding.

  • The impact of alcohol at all pregnancy stages.

  • Utilizing the AUDIT-C tool for alcohol consumption assessment during pregnancy.

  • Delivering strengths-based interventions or referrals based on assessed risk levels.

  • Consistent advice aligned with the NHMRC’s Alcohol Guidelines.

Those who completed the course reported:

  • Increased confidence in providing advice about alcohol and pregnancy (from 58.2% pre-training to 86.0% post-training).

  • Decreased difficulty in initiating conversations about alcohol consumption (from 19.1% to 9.6% in pregnancy, and from 12.9% to 7.4% in breastfeeding).

  • Enhanced knowledge for referring patients for additional support (from 44.7% to 77.6%).

For advice about breastfeeding:

  • Increased comfort in initiating conversations about alcohol (from 66.4% to 88.6%).

  • Increased confidence in providing advice (from 54.0% to 85.8%).

  • Reduced belief in mixed evidence regarding small amounts of alcohol during breastfeeding (from 20.8% to 14.1%).

Positive Feedback and Proven Outcomes

The course has received positive feedback and demonstrated significant outcomes. Health practitioners have found it educational and insightful, highlighting the importance of. One participant shared with us, 

‘A commonly held community belief is that small quantities of alcohol are not harmful to a breast fed baby. The relevant facts discounting this and also the option of harm minimisation is very helpful to learn about and be able to tell patients.’

Another shared,

‘This is something that was not on my radar and it has been such a good learning experience to feel empowered to now discuss this topic with my patients.’

Enrol for the course now, and learn more about Every Moment Matters.

free accredited elearning - supporting alcohol-free pregnancy and safe breastfeeding

Joanna Le
Joanna Le

Projects and Partnerships Director
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education

Joanna is responsible for overseeing health promotion and partnerships at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE). 

Joanna has held a range of leadership roles in the not-for-profit and government sectors, with a focus on strategic communication, funding development, and community and stakeholder engagement.

She is a Board Director of Northside Community Service, and former Board Director of Women’s Legal Centre ACT and YWCA Canberra.

She holds a Master of Strategic Communication from the University of Canberra, and a Bachelor of Digital Media from the University of New South Wales. 

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