A question or two about alcohol use is effective in identifying women in need of education and intervention. Research has shown brief interventions to be very useful in helping pregnant women who drink low to moderate amounts of alcohol reduce their alcohol intake during pregnancy. Brief interventions are cost effective and can be implemented in a variety of clinical settings. They include four components:
- Assessment and direct feedback
- Goal setting through establishing contracts
- Positive reinforcement
- Education through pamphlets and handouts for self-help
Research shows that 5 – 10 minute counselling sessions can reduce alcohol consumption by up to 30%. Screening and brief interventions need to be embraced as standards of care.