Introduction There is a known increase in the use of alcohol amongst women and Public health studies have quoted an increase in alcohol related mortality and morbidity.1 Pregnancy provides an opportunity to screen and promote detection and intervention. Many studies reporting effective alcohol screening tools were for male and non-pregnant population. Hence, we planned to look at how we screen our pregnant women in England and Wales and which tool may be effective for screening.
Methods Questionnaire based survey to all maternity units how they screen for alcohol use and what recognised tool do they use and to ascertain whether they have an alcohol pathway.
Discussion Because most pregnant women are highly motivated to change their behaviours, short counselling sessions after screening are effective.2 Screening questionnaires CAGE and MAST are efficient in detecting dependency which is common in males.
Conclusion Most units don’t use a recognised screening tool and don’t have an alcohol pathway. The T-ACE and TWEAK questionnaire were able to satisfactorily identify alcohol misuse during pregnancy.5 Training of maternity staff in screening for alcohol enables them to be comfortable about enquiring the drinking behaviour. Public health would be promoted by adapting an effective alcohol screening and pathway in pregnancy.
Hankin, et al. Solutions for public health December 2010. Appraisal of screening for alcohol misuse... Pregnant, alcohol-abusing women. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2000;24:1276–1286
Chang, et al. Alcohol use and pregnancy: Improving identification. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1998;91:892–898
Russell, et al. Detecting risk drinking during pregnancy: A comparison of four screening questionnaires. American Journal of Public Health 1996;86:1435–1439
ScHHARR (Commissioned by NICE) report from University of Sheffield 2010... Screening and Brief Interventions for Prevention and Early Identification of Alcohol Use Disorders in Adults and Young People
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