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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 has issued a proclamation declaring Sept. 9 as FASD Awareness Day. This day has been designated to increase awareness of FASD in Michigan and to promote education and prevention.

“FASDs are completely preventable. It is important that all women and men of reproductive age are aware that they or their partner should not drink alcohol while pregnant,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “There is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol while pregnant.”

In 2018, an estimated 56.3 percent of women of reproductive age in Michigan, aged 18-44 years, reported one or more drinks of alcohol during the last 30 days and 18.4 percent 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. 

Six diagnostic clinics and four FASD community-based projects are available across the state to provide prevention, intervention, training and referral services Also a web-based training, Alcohol Free Baby and Me, has been made available by MDHHS for professionals and paraprofessionals.

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. To locate treatment for an individual who struggles with alcohol, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Services locator.

Additional information is also available from the Michigan Coalition for Fetal Alcohol Resources, Education and Support at Mcfares.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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