Skip to main content

Healthy Brains for Children: Did you PT? A revolutionary change in thinking before drinking

Healthy Brains for Children launched our Think Before You Drink Initiative, the first of its kind in the world, July 19, 2012. One pregnancy test dispenser became a worldwide phenomenon. Within hours, the story spread around the world.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

Healthy Brains for Children launched our Think Before You Drink Initiative, the first of its kind in the world, July 19, 2012. One pregnancy test dispenser became a worldwide phenomenon. Within hours, the story spread around the world. News outlets in South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, England, Singapore, Bangladesh, and elsewhere trumpeted the story of a pregnancy test dispenser in a bar in Mankato, MN. By Friday night, Jimmy Fallon mentioned the story in a joke. TIME, CNN, Huffington Post, AOL, and many other news outlets ran the story. Within a week, the story became the number one trending story on Yahoo. One dispenser in a bar in Mankato, Minn. and one charitable nonprofit organization committed to their mission completely changed the conversation about preventing prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Healthy Brains for Children seeks to change the current norm so a woman who could be pregnant tests for pregnancy before drinking any alcohol. The initiative is encouraging communities to place pregnancy test dispensers in easily accessed locations that will allow the discrete purchase and use of the tests. Why is this important? A study published April 25, 2012, in Live Science reported that 73 percent of pregnancies in the unmarried 20-23 year old population were unexpected and unplanned. More than 78 percent of teen pregnancies are unexpected and unplanned. More than 30 percent of married couples have unexpected pregnancies. Research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows college-age women are drinking at historically high level … especially binge drinking. According to the Center for Disease Control, adolescent and adult binge drinking is at an all time high and most people who binge are not alcohol dependent. According to Dr. Larry Burd, University of North Dakota, an estimated 40 percent or more of women have inadvertently exposed one or more of their children to alcohol before they knew they were pregnant. Unexpected pregnancies and drinking alcohol combine to put millions of developing fetuses in harm’s way.

Research shows the first trimester of a pregnancy is particularly susceptible to damage from alcohol - binge drinking. Drinking alcohol during the first trimester of an unexpected pregnancy is happening at a rate that would be considered epidemic in the case of other devastating illnesses or outbreaks. Our schools, communities, state and nation are being overwhelmed with the financial costs resulting from this silent epidemic.

Healthy Brains for Children has a vision of pregnancy test dispensers in women’s restrooms in bars, gas stations, malls, fitness centers and college student unions where women can discretely test for an unexpected pregnancy before drinking. Within five years, we would like to hear a responsible drinking conversation between women before a night out on the town that would go something like this, “Do we have a DD (designated driver) and did everyone take a PT (pregnancy test)?”

Next Up

Baby owl

The Raptor Center says downward trend holding for avian influenza

A "baby shower" fundraising campaign hopes to help return young raptors to the wild.


Commemorative street name for Prince approved in Minneapolis

The block next to the First Avenue nightclub will be named Prince Rogers Nelson Way.

storm, radar, severe weather

Monitoring severe storm threat Saturday-Tuesday in Minnesota

The holiday weekend won't be a washout, but multiple rounds of strong and severe storms are possible.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 4.45.15 PM

Charges: St. Cloud meth dealer had numerous weapons. body armor

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 38, faces 12 felony-level charges.

3100 Bloomington Ave.

South Minneapolis tenants declare rent strike; allege unsafe conditions

A group of Powderhorn Park residents say they'll withhold May rent due to health and safety concerns.

Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 3.11.26 PM

Threats involving 2 students at West St. Paul middle school

Police said there is no reason to be concerned for the safety of the rest of the student body at Heritage E-Stem Magnet Middle School.

North Shore Mayor Chris Swanson.

Controversial Two Harbors mayor told: Resign or face recall election

The mayor has come under scrutiny for unusual behavior this year.

Lakeville Minnesota Solar Installation - All Energy Solar

Tips for selecting a reputable solar installer

Installing solar panels is a major investment. The solar solution provider you choose should be stable and trustworthy.

3M Maplewood

3M fined $2.8M for hazardous waste violations in Cottage Grove

The company's violations spanned more than two decades.

Christopher Payne and Kaley Wethern

Couple charged after $75k worth of fentanyl pills seized during traffic stop

Christopher James Payne and Kaley Maria Wethern have been charged in the seizure.


Healthy Brains for Children: Would you take a pregnancy test in a bar?

If you make a beeline to the stalls, you might miss the pregnancy test dispenser fastened to a wall in the women’s restroom of Pub 500 in Mankato, Minn. There, with the swipe of a credit card, for a $3 fee, you can use a nearby toilet and learn whether you may proceed in good conscience with the martini you were about to order.

MSP Mag: Must. Drink. Brains.

You know, Zombies get thirsty too. The dudes behind Zombie Pub Crawl Ocho know how to hook a boogey up. For the Oct. 13 crawl they have teamed up with local Schell’s Brewery to release cans of ... Brain Belt Cranium.

U of M researcher: Bulimia changes the brain

Doctors say when there’s an increase in binging episodes, the brain's reward system comes less responsive. That means disorders like bulimia not only causes psychological issues but also biological effects that alter the brain’s reward system.

Food safety, healthy grilling tips served

Experts have lots of advice this holiday on how to eat healthy, grill safe and properly prepare food. One tip: wash the outside of that watermelon.

Healthy? Here's $100

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota this week became the first Minnesota health insurance company to offer a direct financial incentive to its members who maintain a healthy lifestyle. But they have to meet four criteria, including a healthy body mass index (BMI). Would you qualify?

Don't drink the water in Lino Lakes

A drop in water pressure caused the Minnesota Department of Health to issue a Do Not Drink order for the water in Lino Lakes. Low pressure makes the water vulnerable to bacteria. Nearly two dozen restaurants face closing unless they can arrange a substitute water supply.

Medtronic seeks partner in brain pump project

Fridley-based Medtronic is looking for pharmaceutical industry partners as it seeks to advance a pump technology, which Medtronic believes could be a good delivery system for Alzheimer's medicines pushed directly into the brain, the Pioneer Press reports.

West St. Paul lifts drinking water ban

The advisory warning residents of West St. Paul against drinking tap water from the city system was lifted Wednesday after tests revealed no harmful bacteria in the system. The advisory was issued Tuesday after a power outage caused by early-morning storms dropped pressure to a level low enough to allow the intrusion of bacteria.