Bars Offering Free Pregnancy Tests Want You to Tinkle Before You Drink

Alaska has a high rate of women who binge drink. Many of those women are young enough to conceive, and it's scary to think about how many of them may be consuming a great deal of alcohol while pregnant (and many may not have a clue they're expecting). A new campaign in Alaska has attempted to cut down on fetal alcohol syndrome in a smart, innovative way: by offering pregnancy tests in bar bathrooms in the hopes that it will dissuade pregnant women from drinking.


The pregnancy tests are free and come in a dispenser that hangs on the wall and features a disturbing image of a pregnant woman throwing back a bottle of booze. So far, just four bars feature the dispensers and this is still very much in its testing phase. I think it's an amazing idea that will have huge benefits and is clearly needed given the fact that 120 babies born each year in Alaska suffer from fetal alcohol symptoms that range from organ damage to physical and mental disabilities.

While most of us (I hope!) curb our drinking once we find out we are pregnant, we don't always discover we're going to be moms until a few weeks or even months after we conceive. By that point, some of us may have already consumed alcohol. Speaking from experience, I attended two fairly wild parties before I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. While I didn't get blitzed, I certainly enjoyed myself.

I totally freaked out when I found out I was pregnant and began kicking myself for having been so reckless and dumb. Side note: my daughter is very healthy and everyone I spoke with told me to calm down, that they, too, had consumed alcohol by mistake during the early days of their pregnancies. But if this can be avoided, all the better.

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If there is a way for women to test themselves—a quick, easy, free way that doesn't involve the embarrassment of picking up a test at a drugstore and feeling like you're being judged (particularly if you are very young)—I can't imagine why women wouldn't take advantage of this service. It's convenient, private, and could save the life of a child. It would be great to see other states get on board with similar programs.

Would you use a free pregnancy test offered in a bar bathroom?


Image via Joe Goldberg/Flickr

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