Aim: The study aims to providepaediatricians in Western Australia (WA) with educational resources (http://www.ichr.uwa.edu.au/alcoholandpregnancy)about the prevention of prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrumdisorder, and assess changes in their knowledge, attitudes and practice aboutfetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and alcohol consumption in pregnancy.
Methods: Following our 2004 surveyof paediatricians, we developed and distributed educational resources to 159paediatricians in WA in 2007. Six months later, we surveyed thesepaediatricians and compared their responses with results from 2004 usingprevalence rate ratios (PRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Of 133 eligiblepaediatricians, 82 (61.7%) responded: 65.9% had seen the resources, of these66.7% had used them and 29.6% said the resources had helped them change, orinfluenced their intent to change, their practice. There was no change in theproportion that knew all the essential features of FAS (18.3% in 2007; 20.0% in2004) or had diagnosed FAS (58.5% in 2007; 58.9% in 2004). An increasedproportion (75.6% in 2007; 48.9% in 2004) agreed that pregnant women shouldcompletely abstain from consuming alcohol (PRR 1.55, 95% CI 1.21–1.97). Only21.7% (no increase from 2004) routinely asked about alcohol use when taking apregnancy history.
Conclusions: We recommend thatasking about alcohol use during pregnancy should be emphasised in paediatrictraining. Unless paediatricians' capacity to ask about alcohol consumption whentaking a pregnancy history and to diagnose FAS is increased, FAS will remainunder-diagnosed in Australia and opportunities for management, earlyintervention and prevention will be overlooked.