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Health officials: Avoid alcohol while pregnant

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding Michigan women about the importance of avoiding alcohol while pregnant in recognition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation which declared Sept. 9 as FASD Awareness Day. It’s just part of an effort to increase awareness of FASD in Michigan and to promote education and prevention.

“Every mother wants her baby to be born healthy, and abstaining from alcohol while pregnant is the only way to avoid fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “It is important we all work together to make sure families understand this risk and have resources to prevent FASD.”

In 2017, an estimated 59.1 percent of women of reproductive age in Michigan ages 18-44 reported one or more drinks of alcohol during the last 30 days and 20.6 percent of Michigan women ages 18-44 reported binge drinking four or more drinks of alcohol on any one occasion during the last 30 days, according to the Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.

Recent studies show that between 2 and 5 percent of elementary school children have been prenatally exposed to alcohol and up to 70 percent of children in foster care have a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

A web-based training, Alcohol Free Baby and Me, has been made available by MDHHS to health care providers to educate them on best practices and intervention techniques.

Michiganders interested in learning more about the hazards of consuming alcohol at any time during pregnancy, as well as the benefits of early screening and intervention, can visit the MDHHS website Michigan.gov/fas. Additional information is also available from the Michigan Coalition for Fetal Alcohol Resources, Education and Support at Mcfares.org; FASD Center, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website Fasdcenter.samhsa.gov; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Cdc.gov.

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