Women Reminded of Dangers of Consuming Alcohol while Pregnant

September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month

Harrisburg – The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs today announced that Governor Corbett has proclaimed September as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month to remind women of the health risks associated when consuming alcohol while pregnant.

Nationally, there are more than 40,000 babies born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) each year.

“Far too many babies are born with a disorder that is 100 percent preventable,” DDAP Secretary Gary Tennis said. “Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should not drink alcohol because it puts the unborn baby at risk.”

FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in children exposed to alcohol during fetal development. Alcohol use during pregnancy can be devastating on the life of an unborn child, causing possible physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

“There is no safe level of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, and it can pose more harmful, long-term effects to an unborn baby than heroin or cocaine,” Tennis said. “By educating the public about the dangers, we hope to eliminate the number of babies born with FASD and for more babies to have a healthy future.”

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), in partnership with Center for Humanistic Change, Inc., hosted a public kick-off event today in Allentown to raise awareness and provide education on FASD prevention.

This month, DDAP will distribute more than 5,000 baby bottles with FASD fact sheets about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy to OB/GYN offices and other providers serving pregnant women statewide.

For more information on FASD, visit www.ddap.pa.gov.


Editor’s note: The text of Governor Corbett’s proclamation follows:


September 1 to 30, 2014

WHEREAS, healthy children are among the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s most important resources, and FASD is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities; and

WHEREAS, FASD is a set of mental, physical and neurobehavioral birth defects, that are the direct result of alcohol use during pregnancy, and that as many as one in every one hundred births may be impacted by prenatal exposure to alcohol; and

WHEREAS, the annual cost of FASD to the U.S. healthcare system is estimated at more than $6 billion; and

WHEREAS, more than 50 percent of women of childbearing age drink alcohol and 7.6 percent (or 1 in 13) pregnant women drink alcohol; and

WHEREAS, it is the goal of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to raise awareness among its residents, especially women of childbearing age, regarding FASD education, prevention and intervention, and to improve awareness; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has established an FASD Task Force and an FASD State Plan to prevent new occurrences of FASD through a comprehensive approach to educating citizens and systems within the Commonwealth, and enhancing a system of care for individuals and their families who are affected by FASD; and

WHEREAS, International FASD Day was first observed on September 9, 1999, so that the ninth day of the ninth month would always be a reminder that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.

THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim the month of September, as FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania. I encourage all Pennsylvanians, both adults and children, to support those individuals and families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, in the City of Harrisburg, this first day of September in the year of Our Lord two thousand and fourteen.




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