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Module 5: FASD Prevention

Comprehensive Prevention

Ideally, communities would adopt prevention approaches that combine all three types of strategies. No single prevention strategy or program works by itself. In addition, prevention needs to address issues from before pregnancy to after birth to provide women with the support they need to have healthy children, healthy lives, and healthy families.

Prevention should also be collaborative. Many agencies and community groups need to work together to provide services to women and families in need. It is important to assess community needs, involve the community, and respond to cultural issues. In addition, a safe, supportive environment is important. Women are not likely to participate in prevention efforts that are judgmental or punitive.

Ann Streissguth, a noted researcher in the area of FASD, has developed a comprehensive approach called the "Five P's of Prevention."17 The "Five P's of Prevention" work together to affect not only women who are or may become pregnant but also the society around them.

Five P's prevention

  1. Public Education focuses on educating the public about the dangers of drinking during and before pregnancy. Public education can take many forms. Posters, lectures, brochures, and media attention are all forms of public education.
  2. Professional Training focuses on teaching health care and social service professionals about FASD. It also teaches them how to talk to women about the effects drinking can have on a fetus. Professionals need concrete suggestions for introducing the topic of drinking during pregnancy and ways to help women stop drinking.
  3. Public Policy refers to the way government on every level deals with the issue of drinking during pregnancy. Public policy is seen in the Surgeon General's warning urging women to stop drinking while they are planning to become pregnant. It is also seen in the laws in some States that give pregnant women with alcohol problems priority in receiving treatment.
  4. Programs and Services refers to programs that intervene with women who are drinking during pregnancy and services that support the women during and after pregnancy.
  5. Parent and Citizen Activism involves informing the public and policymakers about FASD and taking other steps to ensure adequate attention and prevention efforts.

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