Leading the Nation in FASD Prevention and Care for 25 Years
Press releases and press resources
At Proof Alliance, we realize journalistic resources are limited and stretched. We hope that this page will help streamline your ability to report the important stories about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD, and the importance of healthy, alcohol-free pregnancies.
You’ll find the information/press release linked from the email we sent you, in addition to archived releases and materials. Thank you for joining us to raise awareness about FASD, an invisible disability more prevalent than Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, SIDS, cystic fibrosis and spina bifida combined.
Leading the Nation
1876 West Minnehaha Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Paul, Minnesota, April 25, 2023 — Proof Alliance is working to create a world in which alcohol is not consumed during pregnancy and people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are identified, supported and valued.
Beka Mohilo, owner of Minnesota glitter business Advancing Aiden (with over 66k followers on TikTok!), turned advocacy into action in response to an ableist comment on her business’s social media post. Intended as an insult, the commenter claimed Beka has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASD.
Beka posted a follow-up video calling out the comments as harmful and inappropriate. In the video, Beka’s young daughter pops into frame and says, “Stop being a bully and have some glitter.”
Beka knew the video wasn’t enough. She wanted to be a part of actively ending the stigma around FASD and drinking during pregnancy. That’s why she dropped a new product line that features her daughter’s wise words splashed on hoodies, tumblers and more. Ten percent of all proceeds from this new line will be donated to Minnesota nonprofit Proof Alliance. Beka says it’s the most effective way that they can be a part of the solution.
September is FASD Awareness Month—This message of acceptance and support for people with disabilities like FASD will be a theme all month long. The month of September is a call to action for out loud advocacy like Beka’s.
Both Proof Alliance and Advancing Aiden , a family-run online craft and gift store based in Forest Lake, are available and excited to participate in any story or segment that celebrates this advocacy in action or furthers the cause of preventing FASD and supporting those impacted.
No amount of alcohol during pregnancy is safe to consume. The continuation of pandemic-generated hardships, isolation and mental health pressures are weighing heavily and alcohol use is on the rise, especially among women. Women have increased their heavy-drinking episodes (four or more drinks within a couple of hours) by 41 percent since the start of the pandemic.
Proof Alliance works to increase awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD, and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies. Proof Alliance is the only statewide organization supporting those experiencing FASD. Unfortunately, FASD is often misunderstood, and it can be the subject of shame and stigmatization.
Beka, who owns Advancing Aiden with her husband, recently moved to Forest Lake, MN after leaving active duty military service. Beka has a close loved one who has an FASD. Beka had such a strong reaction to the online bullying because she understands how important it is to stand up for kids who are being bullied. Both of her own children have high medical needs. Their daughter who is featured in the video is hard of hearing. She doesn’t often speak, so when she cheerfully burst out with the phrase, “Stop being a bully and have some glitter,” we just had to include it in some way.
It’s our hope that we can further the goal of greatly reducing FASD with advocacy, innovative programs and your help via wider awareness.
For the latest information about FASD and drinking during pregnancy, click here.
For Proof Alliance:
For ADVANCING AIDEN:
Drinking during pregnancy can lead to FASD.
Alcohol is a teratogen. A teratogen is something that causes birth defects. For example, tobacco, lead and alcohol are all teratogens.
Drinking during pregnancy can have serious effects on how the fetus develops. It can harm different organs, and it’s especially harmful to the brain. The brain develops throughout the entire pregnancy. Because of this, drinking alcohol during any trimester can cause brain injury. It can also cause microcephaly, which is when the head and brain are much smaller than expected. These effects on the brain can result in mild to severe disabilities.
The safest choice is to remain alcohol-free during pregnancy.
What's it mean for Minnesotans?
Here, 13.1% of pregnancies are exposed to alcohol. This means that an estimated 8,755 babies are born with prenatal alcohol exposure each year in Minnesota. Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause FASD – a lifelong invisible disability. While there is no cure for the brain injury and disability caused by prenatal alcohol exposure, FASD is 100% preventable with the right information and support.
Why is prenatal alcohol exposure on the rise?
Is it pandemic related?
Over the past decade, we’ve seen alcohol use during pregnancy steadily increase: from 10% in 2015 to 13.5% in 2022.
Prenatal alcohol exposure is a complex public health issue, and there are many reasons that a pregnancy may be exposed to alcohol. This includes (but is not limited to) drinking before pregnancy is known, not knowing the risks related to drinking during pregnancy or having an alcohol use disorder.
Additionally, this specific study found that alcohol use was more common among women who had experienced frequent mental distress, defined as 14 or more days of poor mental health in the past month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues and distress, which could help explain (at least in part) the increase in alcohol use during pregnancy.
“We need to continue to rigorously educate all people that there is no safe time, no safe amount, and no safe kind of alcohol during pregnancy.”
"As an obstetrician, this increase is very concerning. We need continued education, not only for patients but also for all obstetric care providers."
Our Trusted Panel of Experts
We work closely with these highly-respected medical experts, and they may be available to add a medical perspective to your story.
Christopher Boys, PhD, LP
University of Minnesota
Julia Conkel-Ziebell, PhD, LP
Proof Alliance Diagnostic Clinic
Dr. Yasuko Yamamura, MD
ACOG FASD Champion, Associate Professor,
University of Minnesota
Dr. Sari Witzke, MD
Park Nicollet Health Services
1 Gosdin LK, Deputy NP, Kim SY, Dang EP, Denny CH. Alcohol consumption and binge drinking during pregnancy among adults aged 18–49 years – United States, 2018–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(1):10–13.
2 Proof Alliance. (2021, December 13). Drinking during pregnancy can cause FASD. Proof Alliance. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.proofalliance.org/article/prevention-keystone-effects-of-drinking-during-pregnancy/
3 @MichaelSPollard, M. S. P. (2020, October 16). Alcohol consumption rises sharply during the pandemic; heavy drinking by women rises 41%. RAND Corporation. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.rand.org/news/press/2020/09/29.html
4 Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health . (n.d.). Drinking while pregnant will lead to birth defects and lifelong issues. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.childandadolescent.org/drinking-while-pregnant-will-lead-to-birth-defects-and-lifelong-issues/