When you sign up for online alerts regarding new FASD research, a lot of research articles come your way. Some offer hope like the recent article on a possible future treatment for newborns diagnosed with FASD (see Common drugs reverse signs of fetal alcohol syndrome in rats). But most are headlines about newly identified risks associated with alcohol-exposed pregnancies.
For instance, these four recent headlines:
From a scientific research standpoint, it’s important to fully understand effects of alcohol -exposed pregnancies. But, from a prevention point of view, does it add anything to our efforts to know one more reason drinking alcohol during pregnancy is risky? Does it lessen the stigma these women face? Would one more identified risk be the thing a woman needed to hear in order to stop drinking in her pregnancy or while trying to become pregnant?
Obviously, the full picture of effects is important, and this kind of medical and scientific research should continue. At the same itme, it would be helpful to see more headlines on what has been discovered around prevention – focusing on programs that support the mother child dyad, efforts to reduce stigma, and implementation of trauma-informed and FASD-informed practices and policies.
How about five headlines like these?
Relational treatment programs reduce risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and FASD
Connection to culture is key to prevention for many women
Changes in alcohol policy contribute to reduction of violence against women and incidence of alcohol-exposed pregnancies
Secure housing contributes to reduction in alcohol-exposed pregnancies
Women who can safely discuss alcohol with their health provider are more likely to stop risky drinking
This real headline deserves more coverage: “ If we want to save lives, control alcohol. ”
We have lots of information of the risks of alcohol-exposed pregnancies. The work now is about prevention and we will work to bring you those “headlines.”
For more information on these topics, see these previous posts: