Topic: Blog

Educated women more likely to continue drinking alcohol throughout pregnancy, study finds

Brigid O’Connell, Health reporter, Herald Sun
November 17, 2016 7:00pm
Subscriber only

UNIVERSITY educated women, aged in their early to mid-30s and who smoke, are more likely to continue drinking alcohol throughout pregnancy.

And with some women giving themselves a leave pass to drink heavily at special occasions while pregnant, public health experts say doctors need to get over the awkwardness of asking mothers about their pregnancy alcohol use if their children were exhibiting behavioural or cognitive problems once at school.

The survey by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute of 1570 women attending public hospital antenatal clinics in Melbourne, found while 41 per cent did not drink during pregnancy, just over a quarter drank only in the first trimester — half of these at moderate-high levels — and a further quarter continued drinking throughout pregnancy.

One in five women binged on alcohol before they realised they were pregnant.

Women with a tertiary degrees were twice as likely to continue drinking at moderate-high levels while pregnant, while those with a household income of more than $100,000 were both more likely continue consumption and binge drink before they were aware they were pregnant.

Researchers said the findings suggested prevention messages be targeted to those at highest risk; first-time mothers with unplanned pregnancies, those who first got drunk before age 18, and women who didn’t feel the effects of alcohol quickly.

Professor Jane Halliday, MCRI group leader of public health genetics, told the Royal Women’s Hospital’s Cool Topics neonatal conference that with new guidelines for the diagnosis of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder released this year could help with treatment and prevention, as the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure were not always seen at birth.

The guidelines aim to simplify the checklist of facial features and neurodevelopmental problems to inform a formal diagnosis.

Murdoch Institute’s Professor Jane Halliday. Photo: Supplied
“A lot of research is coming out now saying that up to five per cent of children in mainstream settings may have FASD,” Prof Halliday said.

“It’s hidden among other conditions such as ADHD and behavioural problems. But clinicians don’t ask about alcohol in pregnancy because it attaches blame and stigma.

“In our focus groups highly educated women kept saying; I kept drinking until I was 12 weeks because I didn’t want people to know I was pregnant.

“Early in pregnancy is a very important stage of embryo development.

“Ideally women will plan pregnancies. If you stop contraception and start taking folate, stop drinking. It’s a totally preventable problem.”

The findings were published in the journal BMC Public Health.

“No Jab, No Play” Immunisation Law

In 2016, the new “No Jab, No Play” laws will come into effect. Under the new ‘No Jab, No Play’ legislation, before enrolling a child, early childhood services will have to first obtain evidence that the child is:

• fully immunised for their age OR
• on a vaccination catch-up program OR
• unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons

The Commonwealth Government has announced that, from 1 January 2016, families will no longer be eligible for family assistance payments if their children (up to the age of 19) are not fully immunised or if they do not have an approved medical exemption.

‘Conscientious objection’ is not an exemption under the ‘No Jab No Play’ legislation.
These laws will apply to all early childhood education and care services in Victoria providing:

• long day care
• kindergarten
• occasional care
• family day care

The legislation will not apply to:

• enrolment in primary or secondary school
• outside school hours care (after care, before care, vacation care)
• enrolments of school children in long day care, family day care or occasional care
• casual occasional care services that offer care of less than 2 hours per day and less than 6 hours per week
• playgroups
Nothing changes for parents of children who are fully immunised because existing legislation already requires that immunisation information is provided on enrolment in early childhood education and care services.
For further information, we suggest that you check

Mona Lisa Touch Technique


We recently welcomed an exciting new addition to our practice, the Mona Lisa Touch vaginal rejuvenation treatment. While still a relatively new treatment to Australian shores, the Mona Lisa Touch treatment is already making waves overseas and is creating plenty of buzz here too. The patients who have experienced the Mona Lisa Touch treatment in our practice are already enjoying the results, so we thought we would answer some frequently asked questions for patients who were considering the treatment but wanted some more information

What is Mona Lisa Touch Treatment

Mona Lisa Touch is a non-surgical, non-hormonal alternative to hormone therapy for the treatment of symptoms related to vaginal atrophy.  It is a 10 minute, virtually pain free procedure that has no downtime. Mona Lisa Touch is the first solution designed to naturally counteract the effects of atrophy of the vaginal wall. By stimulating the regeneration of new vaginal tissue Mona Lisa Touch restores your body’s natural balance and function. The Mona Lisa Touch treatment is suitable for patients who suffer from the following:

  • Dyspareunia
  • Vaginal burning
  • Loss of lubrication
  • Vaginal itching
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Vaginal laxity

The Mona Lisa Touch can also help patients with some urinary symptoms, or patients with recurrent thrush or discharge.

Mona Lisa Touch works by stimulating the body’s own regenerative processes to create more hydrated and healthy cells and to improve the circulation and nutrient supply to the vaginal wall. This has a direct effect on the integrity and elasticity of the vaginal wall and returns the internal vaginal environment to more normal levels. In as little as 30 days after treatment the regeneration of new tissue in the vaginal wall builds a naturally stronger structure and the protective wall recovers volume, hydration and elasticity.

How Does It Work?

The Mona Lisa Touch is a carbon dioxide laser designed to produce a superficial (not deep) fractional ablation of the skin of the vaginal canal without the need for anaesthesia. Although it is a fractional CO2 laser treatment that is fired inside of the vagina, there is virtually no pain associated with the treatment itself. The only discomfort that most patients encounter is on their initial treatment when first inserting the laser handpiece into the vagina. This discomfort is due to the patient’s vaginal atrophy symptoms and they have indicated that it is less discomfort than a speculum insertion. Most patients describe the actual laser firing as a slight vibration.

  • You will then be placed on an exam table and your feet will be placed in stirrups in the same manner as a vaginal exam / pap.
  • The physician place a sterile “scanner” into your vaginal opening
  • After complete insertion, the laser will be fired, moved, fired again, etc. until the entire inside of the vagina has been treated.
  • After the treatment, you will need to refrain from putting anything in your vagina for a few days.
  • Some patients have indicated that their first urination after the treatment feels different (not painful). They have described it as “noticing” or “feeling” their urine flow in a different way.

How Many Treatments Are Required?

Most patients feel an improvement after the first treatment with the full benefits of the

Mona Lisa Touch treatment achieved in three to four treatments.  This can be decided in consultation with your Doctor. All the changes obtained with the Mona Lisa Touch procedure last significantly longer than other treatment options. As the natural ageing process continues the treatment can be repeated as required, usually at 6, 12 or 18 monthly intervals.

What Are The Benefits of the Mona Lisa Touch Treatment?

  • More comfort during sex
  • Heightened sensation during intercourse
  • Increased hydration vaginally
  • A decrease in itching, infections and dryness
  • A decrease in urinary incontinence
  • A quick, safe resolution to your vaginal atrophy symptoms
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Mona Lisa Touch results are longer lasting than its pharmaceutical counterparts