The FASD Prevention and Awareness Advisory Committee has established the foundational message for individuals of childbearing age:
Safest not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
This top-line message finds different forms of expression and expansion for different audiences:
For the child-bearer and their support networks:
Drinking can be harmful at any point during pregnancy and can result in lifelong disabilities. The baby’s brain and body develop throughout pregnancy and are vulnerable to damage from alcohol.
Alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. If you drink alcohol and are sexually active, make sure you use effective contraception.
If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, consider talking to your healthcare provider or asking for help to learn more about support and services in your community.
For women, people who may become pregnant, their partners/family and their community:
Friends, partners and family members can support pregnant individuals by asking how they can help her make healthy choices and healthy babies.
For the service provider:
Some people need support, care and treatment to help them stop drinking during pregnancy. Research points to the effectiveness of intervention. Engage them in The Prevention Conversation.
Consistency is crucial
The effectiveness of a campaign or communications initiative that aims to raise awareness and prompt behaviour change is tied directly to three factors: frequency, impact and consistency.
Frequency • A message can become top of mind only if it repeatedly reaches its target audience with relevant, memorable messages. While the numbers vary according to the study that’s cited, there’s indisputable evidence that most people must hear a marketing message at least seven times before it even begins to penetrate their awareness.
Impact • To make a lasting impression, a message must be far more than clever or catchy. It must
be clear, compelling and memorable. It must be authentic. And above all, it must matter.
Consistency • Rigorous adherence to a consistent message through all communication activities is crucial to making an impression and effecting a change of thinking, attitude, belief or behaviour.
This is true for any communications initiative, but it’s especially true for one that must stand up against a glut of mixed, often contradictory messages in the public realm.
The core messages of The Prevention Conversation must compete with countless mixed messages perpetuated by physicians, researchers, authors, websites and so on. To stand any chance of being heard above the noise, consistency is absolutely crucial.
I have said for many years now that for the “Prevention Conversation” to be effective in PREVENTION, we need to be conversing with women of child bearing years [and their partners]!! Conversation is a powerful tool and is key to the educational/learning process we all experience. As such if we are not talking to women and their partners, we are missing a major element in the educational process and thereby weakening the potential outcome of the conversation as a prevention tool.
(Rod DeVries Prevention Conversation Facilitator)