Australian Government Department of Health
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The Women Want to Know project
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PDF printable version of The Women Want to Know project (PDF 331 KB)



The Women Want to Know project encourages health professionals to routinely discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women and to provide advice that is consistent with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (Alcohol Guidelines).

In 2009 the Alcohol Guidelines were updated and the information on alcohol and pregnancy was revised. The revised Alcohol Guidelines specified that ‘Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing fetus or breastfeeding baby’ and, ‘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’.1

Development of the Women Want to Know project

The Women Want to Know project was developed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) in collaboration with leading health professional bodies across Australia and is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

The project Working Group included 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), the Australian Medicare Locals Alliance (AMLA) and the Australian Government Department of Health. A consumer representative from the Maternity Coalition was also involved in the project development.

The Women Want to Know project involves two main components:

1. Resources to support health professionals to discuss alcohol use and pregnancy with women; and
2. Accredited training to provide health professionals with information and tools to enable them to discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women.

Information on each of these is provided in the following sections.

Resources to support health professionals The Women Want to Know project includes a range of online and print resources to support health professionals in discussing alcohol use and pregnancy.

Women Want to Know Website

The website www.alcohol.gov.au is a one-stop-shop with information about the project, including specific information for health professionals and for women. The website also includes links to filmed scenarios that demonstrate ways for health professionals to discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women and tools for health professionals to use in their practice such as a standard drinks guide and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test – Consumption (AUDIT-C).

Leaflet - Information for health professionals on pregnancy and alcohol

The leaflet for health professionals is a quick reference guide that can be used during the consultation when discussing alcohol use and pregnancy with women. The leaflet provides a brief overview of the evidence supporting the Alcohol Guidelines and includes a framework for discussing alcohol use and pregnancy, the 5As: Ask, Assess, Advise, Assist and Arrange. The leaflet can be downloaded from the Alcohol website or hard copies can be ordered from the website.

Leaflet - Information for women about pregnancy and alcohol

The leaflet for women provides information on alcohol use and pregnancy. The leaflet provides information on why it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption during pregnancy, hints and tips for saying ‘no’ to alcohol when out with friends and information on where to go for further information or advice. The leaflet can be downloaded from the Alcohol webiste or hard copies can be ordered from the website.

Accredited training

A key component of the Women Want to Know project is the accredited training. Three leading health professional bodies; the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) have developed accredited training modules for health professionals on alcohol consumption and pregnancy. The training will include information on the effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, ways to discuss alcohol and pregnancy and referral.

Information on these modules is available on the Alcohol website.

For more information on the Women Want to Know project visit the Alcohol website.

For more information on the Alcohol Guidelines go to the NHMRC website - Alcohol guidelines: reducing the health risks.

About the Women Want to Know project

The Women Want to Know project was developed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) in collaboration with leading health professional bodies across Australia.

The Women Want to Know project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.


1 National Health and Medical Research Council (2009). Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia. Canberra.