Alcohol use in pregnancy: new resource 'GPaskthequestion'

15 July 2019

 

General practitioners are usually the first health professional to see a woman who thinks or knows she is pregnant. 

The 'GPaskthequestion' project aims to highlight the importance of asking all pregnant women irrespective of age, socio-economic status or ethnicity about their alcohol use.

Don’t assume that women are aware of the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Three videos have been produced and you will hear women say "just ask us about alcohol".

  • Alcohol in pregnancy is everyone's business
  • Asking questions about alcohol in pregnancy
  • Recording alcohol use in pregnancy

Watch the videos and read more on the 'GPaskthequestion' page

As important as 'asking' is the need to 'assess and record' this information using a validated tool such as the AUDIT-C. It is critical to know about alcohol consumption before and after confirmation of pregnancy.

GPs can help address the issue of alcohol use for women planning a pregnancy and during pregnancy.

  • ASK about their alcohol use
  • ASSESS and record the level of risk of the alcohol consumption
  • ADVISE women that alcohol use may harm the developing fetus; no alcohol is the safest option; alcohol reaches concentrations in the fetal circulation as high as the mothers; and stopping drinking at any time during pregnancy reduces the risk to the fetus
  • ASSIST women to stop or reduce alcohol consumption through positive reinforcement; talking about the consequences of alcohol exposure to the fetus; and conducting brief interventions with the aim of supporting the woman to abstain, and where this is not possible, to reduce alcohol use
  • ARRANGE for further support by planning additional consultations or referral to specialist services and support groups

Further resources and information to help health professionals discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women