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Competency 4: Prevention

Addiction Disorders in Women

Screening Tools

The first challenge in implementing FASD prevention strategies is to identify women at increased risk of having children with an FASD. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy puts a child at risk for having an FASD. Screening for alcohol use in drug addiction programs and at primary and prenatal care clinics can help identify women at risk.

Woman with bottle

Studies have shown that some screening tools can be effective. In one study, the T-ACE questionnaire was more effective than assessments by health care staff in identifying pregnant women who drink alcohol.4 The T-ACE is one of several commonly used screening tools. Two other screening tests, the TWEAK and the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), have been identified as effective for women.

Women at risk for having an alcohol exposed pregnancy include women of childbearing age who are sexually active, do not use adequate birth control, and drink alcohol. Screening all women of childbearing age for alcohol use and contraception, as well as intervening with them, can help prevent FASD.

Steps in the process include:

  • Asking about alcohol use and contraception
  • Advising appropriate action
  • Asking for agreement to take specific actions
  • Assisting in taking actions
  • Arranging for followup, monitoring progress, and repeating the intervention

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