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Home > A digital campaign to increase awareness of alcohol-exposed pregnancy.

Reynolds, Róisín and Cook, Penny and McCarthy, Robyn (2021) A digital campaign to increase awareness of alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Perspectives in Public Health, 141, (3), pp. 124-126. doi: 10.1177/1757913920955218.

External website: https://www.nhsapa.org/post/fasd-campaign


It is widely accepted that alcohol is a teratogen (from its ability to cross the placenta and cause foetal malformations in addition to other conditions) and that persistent, high-level prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to disability. There is emerging evidence that even low to moderate drinking during pregnancy can cause harmful effects, referred to as foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), with lifelong implications for the affected individual and their families. These include increased interaction with health services, social care and the criminal justice system. 

From May to July 2019, a programme tested how a public marketing campaign could contribute towards reducing AEPs and preventing new cases of FASD in the city region. This was the first digital campaign addressing the issues associated with alcohol use in pregnancy. Through research with would-be families, adoptive parents of children living with FASD and a range of local, regional and national partners, we developed ‘#Drymester’: an initial 10-week digital-led awareness campaign in four local authority areas. 

Internal analysis of the initial digital campaign showed strong reach (4.5 million views) among the primary audience of would-be-mums, but also found that male partners were being reached too (80% women, 20% men). Additional insights highlighted further pointers for a successful Phase 2 roll out, including that Facebook and YouTube were the most effective channels and that there were 435,070 engagements via social media (views, clicks, likes and shares). The most effective platform was paid-for social media advertisements (3.2 million views), and content was most often viewed on mobile phones and on Fridays….

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