Impact Evaluation Findings from Project Choices in Manitoba


Project CHOICES is a program in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that works with girls and women of any age who are not currently pregnant, drink alcohol, and are sexually active. The goal of the program is to reduce the risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy through choosing healthy behaviours around alcohol and birth control use.

This infographic summarizes changes for participants three months after completing the program.

Project CHOICES is based on motivational interviewing which is a counseling approach that is respectful, non-judgmental and client-centred. Motivational interviewing allows health care providers and clients to explore possible areas of change, discuss strategies that make sense for the client and their life circumstances, and provides encouragement and support.

The program considers three different routes to reducing the risk of an alcohol-exposed pregnancy: (1) reducing alcohol use (2) using effective contraception (3) reducing alcohol use and using effective contraception.

Learn more about the evaluation from Healthy Child Manitoba. Check out the program website to learn more about the program, how to make a referral, and for resources on alcohol, pregnancy and birth control.

word on the street

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy in the United States

Findings from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2011-12)

Survey finds ongoing concerns with alcohol use during pregnancy - January 2014

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently released their Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings.

With respect to alcohol use during pregnancy, the survey found:

  • Overall, about 8.5% of pregnant women reported having a drink of alcohol in the past 30 days, and 2.7 % reported binge drinking.
  • 18% of pregnant women age 15 to 44 reported at least some consumption of alcohol during their first trimester; almost 7% reported an episode of binge drinking (five or more drinks within a couple of hours) during their first trimester
  • Alcohol use dropped to around 4% among women in their second and third trimesters
  • Young pregnant girls were at the greatest risk of an alcohol-affected pregnancy, with 13% of pregnant girls between 15 and 17 years of age reporting they drank in the past 30 days. Among pregnant women in the 18-25 and 26-44 age groups, between 7-9% reported some alcohol use, with 2-3% reporting binge drinking.

The findings suggest that most women stop using alcohol once they learn they are pregnant. They also suggest that supporting younger women in avoiding an unplanned pregnancy or in considering stopping or reducing their alcohol use when planning to become pregnant could be another key message in FASD prevention efforts.

Read an interview with researchers Margaret Mattson and Rachel Lipari on the FASD Centre of Excellence website.

For more on alcohol use during pregnancy in the United States, see earlier posts:

Girls, Alcohol, and Depression resource for group facilitators

Alc and depression backgrounder cover

The Girls Action Foundation provides spaces for girls to speak out, build skills, and create action on issues that are important and real to them. Their national programs address violence prevention, health promotion, media literacy and leadership.

In the past year, the Girls Action Foundation collaborated with researchers at the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health to develop a series of information sheets to support the work of facilitators of girls’ empowerment groups. These resources are:

The “Girls, Alcohol and Depression” resource is 12 pages long and discusses the links between depression and alcohol consumption. It also includes sample activities to generate discussion with girls around these issues. The resources are available in English and French.