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Evaluation of a Multilevel and Integrated Program to Raise Awareness of the Harmful Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure in a Local Community

16 Oct 2015

Aims
To evaluate a multilevel program to raise awareness of the risks of prenatal exposure to alcohol in the area of Treviso (Italy). The program started in 2008 and consists of an action-research experience involving health professionals of maternal–child services, and in the campaign ‘Mamma Beve Bimbo Beve’, targeted to the childbearing-aged population.

Methods
A comparative study was carried out in 2013. Surveys using semi-structured self-report questionnaires were carried out among professionals and pregnant women in Treviso, and among control groups belonging to another local area of Italy (Verona). The questionnaires investigated awareness and opinions about alcohol and pregnancy, as well as sources and kind of information provided and received.

Results
Health professionals in Treviso, who had been exposed both to the action-research experience and to the campaign, showed a more rational approach to alcohol than colleagues in the control group, and were more aware and sensitized about the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Physicians and midwives had a higher probability of having advised pregnant women to abstain from alcohol in Treviso. Pregnant women in Treviso, who had received information through the campaign and from professionals, had a higher probability of having received only correct advice about the issue of alcohol and pregnancy, but did not hold perceptions different to women in Verona.

Conclusions
The multilevel program carried out in the Treviso area was effective in increasing awareness and improving attitudes towards the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy among local healthcare professionals, compared with the control group.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Alcohol and Alcoholism