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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alcohol & Pregnancy

planning your pregnancy frequently asked questions

No Safe Kind

What’s the big deal with drinking alcohol during pregnancy? Is it really that serious?

When a pregnant person drinks alcohol, the alcohol passes from their bloodstream into the fetus’s blood.1 This prenatal alcohol exposure can impact the fetus’s development2 and cause serious, irreversible brain injury.1

This is a major public health issue, as the most recent data (2015) states that 1 in 10 people report drinking alcohol at some point during their pregnancy.3 Proof Alliance is working to get that number to 0, and we hope you will join our efforts by promoting and celebrating alcohol-free pregnancies.

Is a little wine safe during pregnancy? At least it’s not hard liquor! 

Alcohol is alcohol, and one type of alcohol is not less harmful4 to an embryo or fetus than another. All types of alcohol – including red wine, white wine, wine coolers, hard cider, beer, and hard liquor – contain chemicals that are harmful to development and may cause permanent injury to the fetus. The safest choice is not to drink any type of alcohol during pregnancy.

What if my partner drinks?

Your partner’s alcohol use cannot cause your child to be born with an FASD; the only known cause of FASD is prenatal alcohol exposure that occurs when a pregnant person drinks. However, a partner can be supportive by encouraging the pregnant person not to drink alcohol and by abstaining from alcohol themselves. Enjoy a delicious mocktail together and request alcohol-free drinks when you go to restaurants or social gatherings.

No Safe Time

Which trimester is it safest to drink alcohol?

Drinking alcohol at any stage of pregnancy (from conception to birth) poses a risk. Prenatal alcohol exposure as early as 3 weeks after conception can disrupt the development of the brain, spinal cord, and heart.3 The brain continues to develop throughout the entire pregnancy, and brain injury can be caused by prenatal alcohol exposure during the first, second, or third trimesters.

I drank before I knew I was pregnant. Now what?

This is more common than one might think, as 40% of pregnancies in Minnesota are unplanned.5 If you’re able to, get regular prenatal check-ups and tell your health care provider you had alcohol during your pregnancy. Your health care provider should be able to address any questions or concerns you might have. You will also want to tell your child’s pediatrician that there was prenatal alcohol exposure so that they can monitor your child’s development for any abnormalities or concerns. In the meantime, the safest choice you can make is to stop drinking alcohol throughout the rest of your pregnancy. If you want additional support to help quit drinking, ask your health care provider about what resources and supports are available in your community.

Is it safe to drink alcohol in the third trimester because the fetus is already developed?

The fetus develops at a rapid rate throughout the entire pregnancy, including during the third trimester. Most importantly, the brain is always developing, even after the baby is born. Because of this, the safest choice is to abstain from alcohol throughout the entire pregnancy, including the third trimester.

Is it safe to drink while nursing?

Alcohol can impact a baby’s sleep patterns, growth, and development. Because of this, the safest choice is not to drink while nursing and to choose an alcohol-free beverage instead. If you do choose to drink alcohol, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that it is safer to do so just after you have nursed or expressed milk rather than beforeAmerican Academy of Pediatrics.6 The AAP also suggests allowing at least 2 hours per drink before the next nursing or pumping session.  If you or your partner are concerned about alcohol use while nursing, speak to your health care provider.

Has someone close to you said that they drank alcohol during pregnancy and their child appears healthy?

There are many factors that determine how prenatal alcohol exposure might affect a fetus. These factors include the genetics, nutrition, and age of the pregnant individual. These variables differ from person to person and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. The safest choice will always be to not drink any alcohol throughout each pregnancy.

No Safe Amount

How much alcohol can I safely drink during pregnancy?

To date, there is no research that has conclusively proven there is a safe amount of alcohol that a person can consume during pregnancy. In addition, each pregnancy is different and there are a number of variables (such as the stage of pregnancy and the genetics, nutrition, and age of the pregnant individual) that can determine the degree of damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Because there is no known safe amount, all major medical associations in the United States, including the Centers for Disease Control7, the American Academy of Pediatrics8, and the U.S. Surgeon General9, recommend that if a person is pregnant or could become pregnant, they should abstain from drinking alcohol completely.

But I’ve heard others say, “It’s okay just to have one drink every now and then when you’re pregnant?”

Maybe your friends have said there’s no harm in having a drink every now and then during pregnancy, or you’ve read an article online that says something similar. With all of this different messaging, it can be confusing to know what information to trust. However, it is important to note that there have been no conclusive studies that can prove a “safe level” of alcohol use during pregnancy. Because of this, all major medical associations recommend not drinking any alcohol if you are pregnant or might become pregnant. Alcohol is a teratogen and can cause permanent brain injury to a fetus.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

What is FASD?

FASD stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. FASD is a term that describes the range of effects that can occur when a fetus is prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects can include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities.

Is there a cure for FASD?

FASD cannot be cured. The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure will last a lifetime. However, research suggests that early intervention and treatment can improve a child’s development.10

Is FASD hereditary?

No, FASD is not genetic or hereditary. FASD cannot be “passed down” from parents to their child. The only way for a person with an FASD to have a child with an FASD is for that person to drink alcohol during pregnancy. If a person does not drink alcohol during their pregnancy, their child will not be born with an FASD.

How would I know if I or my child have an FASD?

If you think that it’s possible that you or your child have an FASD, visit our Screening & Diagnosis page for help. You can also visit our Resource Directory to find the resources you need nearest to you.

Doesn’t FASD usually occur in children of women who are poor or from a minority group?

This is a harmful and incorrect stereotype that Proof Alliance works to dispel. FASD affects people from all ethnicities and all income levels. Recent research has found that there are no significant differences by race or ethnicity in FASD diagnoses.

For More Information

If you still have questions, please reach out to us at info@proofalliance.org

 

Sources:

[1] National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Fetal Alcohol Exposure. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/fasdfactsheet/fasd.pdf

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An Alcohol-Free Pregnancy is the Best Choice for Your Baby. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/documents/fasdbrochure_final.pdf

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking Among Women of Childbearing Age — United States, 2011-2013. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6437a3.htm

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html

[5] Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Unintended Pregnancy: Minnesota. https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/factsheet/mn_17.pdf

[6] American Academy of Pediatrics. Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorders-toolkit/Pages/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx#ques24

[7] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html

[8] 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

[9] 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

[10] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatments. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/treatments.html#EarlyInterventionServices


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