On July 19, 2012 we launched our new Think Before You Drink Initiative by placing the world's first pregnancy test dispenser in a women's restroom in Pub 500, a well-known establishment in Mankato, MN. This is the world's first pregnancy test dispenser designed to prevent prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Healthy Brains for Children seeks to locate pregnancy test dispensers in women's restrooms in bars, gas stations, malls, fitness centers, etc. to target those at high risk for unexpecting pregnancies. The intent of the Pub 500 event was to plant an entrepreneurial seed and find partners in this initiative to put pregnancy tests worldwide in locations where women can test before drinking alcohol rather than waiting until a month or two into the pregnancy.
Over 30% of married women and over 70% of 20-29 year old women are having
unexpected pregnancies. Unexpected pregnancies are at a high risk for prenatal exposure to
alcohol that can cause lifelong damage to the fetus. This early development damage can have
catastrophic consequences, such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, behaviors now related to Autism
Spectrum Disorder, lifelong learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, depression, and is linked
to over 60 illnesses. There is no safe amount of alcohol. Research shows even small amounts of
alcohol during the pregnancy has a detrimental impact on reading and math abilities when the child is school aged. The first trimester of a pregnancy is particularly susceptible to damage from alcohol. Binge drinking is very damaging to the developing fetus. Binge drinking and unexpected pregnancies go hand in hand.
Nature has provided a grace period. If a mother knows she is pregnant by her 18th day of the pregnancy and stops drinking alcohol from that time on, the growing fetus will not have any damage from prenatal exposure to alcohol. Pregnancy tests measure human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that is only present in the urine during pregnancy and are 99% accurate from the date of the expected menstrual period. Ovulation occurs 12 to 16 days before the menstrual cycle begins. The midstream pregnancy test is 99% accurate on the day the menstrual period is to occur and increasingly accurate past that date as the hCG levels double daily. Because the zygote is self-contained, any alcohol in the bloodstream of the mother will not impact the embryo before the placenta is formed and delivering nutrients to the embryo. This time frame allows a woman to determine if she is pregnant before any drinking will cause damage to the developing embryo.
By placing pregnancy test dispensers in the women's bathrooms in bars, gas stations,
hotels, restaurants, fitness centers, etc., women will have a constant reminder to think before they
take a drink of alcohol. They will be able to take a pregnancy test in the privacy of the restroom without having to purchase a pregnancy test over the counter at the drugstore or local big box
stores. In a small community, purchasing a pregnancy test can be an embarrassing event and
expose the woman to the gossip of the town. The advertisement on the dispenser reminds women
to test each time they decide to have a drink of alcohol to ensure their child will be born with an
alcohol-free fetal development. Healthy Brains for Children has a singular focus on stopping prenatal exposure to alcohol one community at a time by initiating and growing community chapters, increasing the awareness of the devastation of prenatal exposure to alcohol, and promoting the healthy practice of refraining from drinking alcohol during each pregnancy.