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Improving services for women who are pregnant and alcohol dependent



This research project aimed to improve treatment practices of chronic alcohol dependence in pregnancy. At present, only a small proportion of pregnant women who drink at high levels are identified and treated. There are a number of reasons for this, and to date barriers to treatment have been identified as including a fear of losing custody of their children, a lack of childcare if they were to go into treatment, a lack of access or priority for pregnant women and a lack of special services.

This study examined ethnographic and social research on attitudes to Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), problems in identification and diagnosis and other barriers in accessing services. In particular, this study examined the role of gender stereotypes in the development of alcohol use problems in contemporary Australian society. 

The project was funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) - formerly known as Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation (AER) Foundation - and was carried out by researchers in the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NSW).

AER Foundation abstract


Dr Lucy Burns
Senior Lecturer
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NSW)
Ph: (02) 9385 0258

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NSW)
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: (02) 9385 0333
Fax: (02) 9385 0222

Evaluated publications

Burns L, Breen C (2013)

It's time to have the conversation: understanding the treatment needs of women who are pregnant and alcohol dependent.

Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre


Last updated: 6 November 2014
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