About the campaign
Women Want to Know was officially launched by FARE on 1 July 2014 in response to research which indicated that many pregnant women weren’t receiving much information, or were hearing conflicted messages, about alcohol consumption.
Most women visit a health professional when they are pregnant for advice on a range of health and lifestyle topics. These visits present the ideal opportunity to discuss alcohol consumption and reinforce that not drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the safest option.
However, some medical professionals are reluctant to discuss alcohol with women, often because they assume they are already aware of the risks, are concerned that women may feel uncomfortable, or unsure of what advice to provide and where to refer women to if necessary.
Women Want to Know aims to overcome these barriers by educating medical professionals about the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and encouraging them to relay this information to their patients to ensure that women are fully informed. We provide a message consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Guidelines to Reduce Risks from Drinking Alcohol. Last revised in 2009 with an updated reference to alcohol consumption and maternal health, the guidelines specify that ‘For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option’ and, ‘For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option’.
Women Want to Know was developed by FARE in collaboration with leading health professional bodies including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), the Australian College of Midwives (ACM), the Australian Medical Association (AMA), and the Australian Medicare Locals Alliance (AMLA). A consumer representative from the Maternity Coalition was also involved in the project development. The campaign was supported with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Training and resources
The Women Want to Know campaign provides practical resources to support health professionals to have these conversations with women, as well as accredited training courses and modules through key health professional bodies.
All resources are available free of charge and can be ordered or downloaded from www.alcohol.gov.au
In addition, three online e-Learning courses with Continuing Professional Development accreditation are available for Health Professionals through the:
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Australian College of Midwives
The Women Want to Know campaign has also been adapted by the New South Wales Ministry of Health, and by the Northern Territory Department of Health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In New South Wales, the Stay Strong Stay Healthy resources have been designed for both women and health professionals, as have the Yarning About Alcohol in Pregnancy Resources in the Northern Territory.
NT: Yarning about alcohol and pregnancy – staff advice card
I would like to congratulate FARE and all those involved for their role in leading the development of this most important public health initiative on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health. With the Government’s FASD national action plan and the Women Want to Know campaign, we can work together to start these conversations within the community and ensure women are getting the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their child.”
Senator the Hon Fiona Nash
Asst Minister for Health
ACT launch of Women Want to Know
Women Want to Know was officially launched in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on 12 August 2015 by Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Health Simon Corbell MLA. Thanks to dedicated funding from the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program, the national Women Want to Know campaign will be rolled out in Canberra and its surrounding regions this year.