Responsible from the Start!
Working Group on Alcohol and Responsibility / Bundesverband der Deutschen Spirituosen-Industrie und -Importeure e.V.
2009 > Ongoing
To promote abstention from alcohol during pregnancy and nursing.
To reduce the number of children born with alcohol-related disabilities (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome - FAS).
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a non-diagnostic umbrella term used to describe the continuum of disabilities and congenital disorders resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. Included within this spectrum is Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Every year in Germany, some 4,000 children are born with FAS and another 12,000 are born with FASD.
BSI created the campaign because of this lack of knowledge about the risk of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Launched in 2009 the campaign aims to provide clear information explaining the dangers of alcohol for the unborn child. It is backed by Dr Reinhold Feldmann from the Paediatric clinic and polyclinic at the university hospital in Münster (UKM) and FAS outpatient department at the outpatient clinic in Walstedde (who helped to create the FAS leaflet), the German Federal Drug Commissioner (who has signed the brochure since the 2nd edition) and the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (who has recommended the brochure in a letter to parents to be since September 2009).
Three leaflets are the core of the campaign:
- Women’s leaflet: Launched in February 2009, “Verantwortung von Anfang an! - Leitfaden für den Verzicht auf alkoholhaltige Getränke in Schwangerschaft und Stillzeit” (“Responsible from the Start! - Guidance on abstention from alcohol during pregnancy and nursing”) contains advice to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy and nursing along with information on FAS. It is distributed with the “gift box ‘For you’” (promotional bag containing other information and mother/baby goods) via gynaecological practices; with the “Happy Mom” bag (similar to the gift box); via the Paediatric clinic and polyclinic at the university hospital in Münster (UKM) and the FAS outpatient department at the outpatient clinic in Walstedde and via the IDS Service Company for Information in Healthcare to gynaecological practices and midwives to pass on to pregnant women. The latest edition of the leaflet was created in April 2019.
- Girl’s leaflet: Launched in May 2012, “Verantwortung von Anfang an! – Was Mädchen über alkoholhaltige Getränke in der Schwangerschaft wissen sollten” (“Responsible from the Start! – What girls need to know about alcohol in pregnancy”) is aimed at girls and young women. It was compiled with assistance of Dr Gisela Gille, practising physician in Lüneburg and Honorary Member of the German Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG). It is distributed since 2014 to girls from age 12 with the “Happy Me” bags they receive on their first visit to a gynaecologist and during the adolescent health check-up from age 13 with the “Happy Youth” leaflet. Dr Gille also hands out it out in her training workshops. The latest edition of the leaflet was created in April 2019.
- Foetal Alcohol Syndrom leaflet: Launched in 2012, “Verantwortung von Anfang an! – Das Fetale Alkoholsyndrom” (“Responsibility from the Start! – Foetal Alcohol Syndrome”) aims to promote a better understanding of children, adolescents and adults with prenatal alcohol damage. It offers practical tips for successfully helping those affected and gives pointers to potential therapy, school and statutory assistance for them and their families. It was compiled by Dr Reinhold Feldmann and the latest edition was published in April 2019. An English version of the leaflet was also created due to popular demand.
The campaign is supported by:
- Information packs: Gynaecological practices are provided with packs containing posters and leaflets. The practices display the information posters which reference the leaflet.
- Dedicated website: On 7 December 2010 a dedicated website was launched before being updated in February 2018. It contains advice, information on the effect of alcohol on the unborn child, tips for abstinence and FAQs. It is linked to from the “Happy Mom” website.
- Press: The German Professional Association of Gynaecologists (BVF) has featured articles about the initiative in the “FRAUENARZT” (GYNAECOLOGIST) magazine since 2012.
- Paediatric clinic and polyclinic at the university hospital in Münster (UKM)
- FAS outpatient department at the outpatient clinic in Walstedde
- Practising physician in Lüneburg and Honorary Member of the German Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (DGGG)
- German Professional Association of Gynaecologists (BVF)
Until December 2020:
- Women’s leaflet: 400,000 copies were distributed in 2020 reaching around 70% of pregnant women including 100,000 via BVF, 150,000 via the IDS and 100,000 with the “For You” gift box. A total of about 4.8 million leaflets have been distributed in total.
- Girls’ leaflet: 20,000 copies were distributed via “Happy Me” bags, 20,000 were distributed during the “girl consultation hour” at to genealogical practices, 40,000 were distributed with the “Happy Youth” brochure and 25,000 with IDS for information in the healthcare sector in 2020. A total of 580,000 copies have been distributed in total.
- FAS leaflet: 45,000 copies were distributed in 2020. A total of 265,000 copies of the German version and 12,000 copies of the English version have been distributed in total.
- Information packs: 44,500 gynaecological practice and 54,500 “The healthy child” posters have been distributed in total.
- Website: It has had about 69,650 visitors with about 151,260 page views in total.
Measurement & evaluation
The campaign is evaluated every year the latest evaluation shows:
- Girls Leaflet: Evaluation took place between June 2020 to February 2021 (girls aged between 14 and 17. 499 responses). Results show that 68% stated that they had learned something new; 91% felt well informed and 92% found the content and the visual design “just right”.
- Women’s Leaflet: Evaluation with women who received the “Happy Mum” bag took place from June 2020 to February 2021 (1,235 women). Results show that 71% learnt that they should not drink alcohol whilst pregnant; 96% felt better informed; 55% said they had learnt something new; 85% were very satisfied with the content, visuals and design; 79% learnt how alcohol can affect the foetus. A second evaluation by IDS from June to December 2020 (240 women) showed 85% learnt that they should not drink alcohol whilst pregnant; 53% were already familiar with the information; 63% learnt something new; 82% learnt how alcohol can affect the foetus.