Formerly known as MOFAS: Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Exciting News
from MOFAS

If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

Why PR%F

We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.

Why Alliance?

We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.

What's Next?

Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.

Women & Pregnancy

women and pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can impact fetal development and cause irreversible birth defects and brain injury.1 Children with prenatal alcohol exposure are at risk of having fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD is not a diagnosis but rather an umbrella term describing the range of birth defects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.2 FASD can be prevented by not drinking any alcohol during pregnancy.3

Because there is no known amount of alcohol that can be considered safe during pregnancy, it is advised by all major medical associations, including the World Health Organization4, the Centers for Disease Control5, the American Academy of Pediatrics6, and the U.S. Surgeon General7, that if a person is pregnant or could become pregnant, they should abstain from drinking alcohol.

Facts from Experts

There is more than 40 years of evidence-based research on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Based on the current science available, we know that:

  • Prenatal alcohol exposure increases the risk of birth defects, including microcephaly (a condition in which the baby’s head and brain are significantly smaller than expected), abnormal facial development, and structural brain defects.8-13
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy can also cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), a brain-based permanently disability that has wide-ranging effects, including cognitive deficits related to executive function, learning, attention, and memory. 14-20
  • The cognitive and behavioral effects resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure are lifelong.21-24
  • There is no known amount of alcohol that can be considered safe for consumption during pregnancy.25
  • Alcohol can damage a developing embryo or fetus at any stage of pregnancy.26 Damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy – even before an individual knows that they are pregnant – up until the time of birth.
  • Alcohol-related birth defects are preventable.27 If a person does not drink any alcohol during pregnancy, their child will not be born with an FASD or any other alcohol-related birth defects.
  • A CDC study in 2019 found that 1 in 9 pregnancies are exposed to alcohol.28
  • Up to 1 in 20 children in the United States have an FASD.29

Preventing FASD

Every major medical organization has looked at the research and issued unequivocal statements that no amount of alcohol can be considered safe at any point during pregnancy. These organizations include:

Planning Your Pregnancy

Whether you are already pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or trying to avoid pregnancy, there are steps you can take to improve your health and prevent any issues.

Already Pregnant?

Congratulations! Proof Alliance encourages you to celebrate an alcohol-free pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD cannot be cured, but it can be prevented by not drinking any alcohol – including wine, wine coolers, beer or hard liquor – during pregnancy. Remember: when you don’t drink a drop, FASD stops. Learn more about alcohol-free pregnancies.

Planning Your Pregnancy

One of the most critical times to prevent any issues in your pregnancy is before you even become pregnant. Steps you can take to plan a healthy pregnancy include: talking with your health care provider about how to prepare for pregnancy; avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs; taking folic acid or a prenatal vitamin every day; and trying to follow a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, engaging in appropriate physical activity, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Learn more about planning a healthy pregnancy. 

Preventing Pregnancy

If you are sexually active but do not want to become pregnant, it is important to talk with your health care provider about family planning options. On average, couples who are sexually active but do not use birth control have an 85% chance of becoming pregnant30; using contraception (birth control) will significantly reduce your chance of having an unintended pregnancy. 40% of pregnancies in Minnesota are unplanned31, and many people do not know they are pregnant until 4-6 weeks after conception. By this time, they could have exposed the developing embryo to alcohol without even knowing they were pregnant. This is one reason that Proof Alliance advocates for planned pregnancies: by taking steps to plan your pregnancy, you can reduce the likelihood of unintended pregnancy and prenatal alcohol exposure. Learn more about preventing pregnancy here.

For Health Professionals

People often take the word from their health care provider over other sources. However, with conflicting information online and in other sources, it is very important that people hear from their health care providers that there is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Help your patients prepare for pregnancy.

Support & Recovery

Proof Alliance has a wide variety of resources for women who drank and/or used drugs during their pregnancy. We are here to help remove the stigma and blame associated with FASD and provide support and resources for you and your family. View the options Proof Alliance has to support you.

*Gender-specific Language

Proof Alliance acknowledges that not every person who can become pregnant identifies as a woman. Although we try to use gender-neutral language as often as possible, much of the current research available currently refers only to “women” when discussing the ability to become pregnant. When citing this research, we refer to the language used in the study. In these cases, “woman” refers to someone who was assigned female at birth.

Sources:

  1. Burd L, Blair J, Dropps K. Prenatal alcohol exposure, blood alcohol concentrations and alcohol elimination rates for the mother, fetus and newborn. Journal of Perinatology. 2012;32(9):652-659.
  2. Noor S, Milligan ED. Lifelong Impacts of Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Neuroimmune Function. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018.
  3. Fitzpatrick JP, Pestell CF. Neuropsychological Aspects of Prevention and Intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia. Journal of Pediatric Neuropsychology. 2017;3(1):38-52.
  4. World Health Organization. Counting the Costs of Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy. https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/95/5/17-030517/en/
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Says No Amount of Alcohol Should Be Considered Safe During Pregnancy. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Says-No-Amount-of-Alcohol-Should-be-Considered-Safe-During-Pregnancy.aspx
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notice to Readers: Surgeon General’s Advisory on Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5409a6.htm
  8. Mattson SN, Crocker N, Nguyen TT. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: neuropsychological and behavioral features. Neuropsychol Rev. 2011;21(2):81-101.
  9. Feldman HS, et al. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Patterns and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects and Growth Deficiencies: A Prospective Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2012;36(4):670-676.
  10. Treit S, Zhou D, Chudley AE, et al. Relationships between Head Circumference, Brain Volume and Cognition in Children with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(2):1-15.
  11. Sawada Feldman H, Lyons Jones K, Lindsay S, et al. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Patterns and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects and Growth Deficiencies: A Prospective Study. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 2012;36(4):670-676.
  12. Muralidharan P, Sarmah S, Feng C. Zhou, Marrs JA. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Associated Neural Defects: Complex Mechanisms and Potential Therapeutic Targets. Brain Sciences (2076-3425). 2013;3(2):964-991.
  13. Lewis SM, Vydrová RR, Leuthold AC, Georgopoulos AP. Cortical miscommunication after prenatal exposure to alcohol. Experimental Brain Research. 2016;234(11):3347-3353.
  14. Noor S, Milligan ED. Lifelong Impacts of Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Neuroimmune Function. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018.
  15. Burd L, Blair J, Dropps K. Prenatal alcohol exposure, blood alcohol concentrations and alcohol elimination rates for the mother, fetus and newborn. Journal of Perinatology. 2012;32(9):652-659.
  16. Rodríguez JJ., Smith VC. Prenatal Opioid and Alcohol Exposure: Understanding Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to Safeguard Maternal and Child Outcomes. Zero to Three. 2018;38(5):23-28.
  17. Rutman D. Becoming FASD Informed: Strengthening Practice and Programs Working with Women with FASD. Substance Abuse: Research & Treatment. 2016;10:13-20.
  18. Girault V, et al. Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Impairs Autophagy in Neonatal Brain Cortical Microvessels. Cell Death & Disease. 2017; 8(e2610).
  19. Subramoney S, Eastman E, Adnams C, Stein DJ, Donald KA. The Early Developmental Outcomes of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: A Review. Frontiers in Neurology. 2018; 9(1108).
  20. Gross AC, Deling LA, Wozniak JR, Boys CJ. Objective measures of executive functioning are highly discrepant with parent-report in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Child Neuropsychology. 2015;21(4):531-538.
  21. Noor S, Milligan ED. Lifelong Impacts of Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure on Neuroimmune Function. Frontiers in Immunology. 2018.
  22. Burd L, Blair J, Dropps K. Prenatal alcohol exposure, blood alcohol concentrations and alcohol elimination rates for the mother, fetus and newborn. Journal of Perinatology. 2012;32(9):652-659.
  23. Rodríguez JJ., Smith VC. Prenatal Opioid and Alcohol Exposure: Understanding Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to Safeguard Maternal and Child Outcomes. Zero to Three. 2018;38(5):23-28.
  24. Treit et al. Longitudinal MRI reveals altered trajectory of brain development during childhood and adolescence in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Journal of Neuroscience. 2013;33(24):10098-109.
  25. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html
  26. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Fetal Alcohol Exposure. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FASDFactsheet/FASD.pdf
  27. Williams JF, Smith VC. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Pediatrics. 2015;136(5):e1395-406.
  28. Denny CH, et al. Consumption of alcohol beverages and binge drinking among pregnant women aged 18-44 years — United States, 2015-2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 2019;68(16):365-368.
  29. May et al. Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in 4 US Communities. JAMA. 2018;319(5): 474-482.
  30. Guttmacher Institute. Contraceptive Use in the United States. https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/contraceptive-use-united-states
  31. Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Unintended Pregnancy: Minnesota. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/factsheet/mn_17.pdf

Last updated: April 2019


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There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.

– CDC

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