New Campaign Raises Awareness on the Risk of Prenatal Consumption of Alcohol

News Highlights

  • A new community awareness campaign is being launched to raise awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). The campaign features English and Spanish social and digital media, bus signs and other outreach activities.
  • The goal is to raise understanding that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. Not Even One.
  • 2020 saw the largest gain in alcohol consumption in nearly 20 years. Total beverage alcohol volume in the US is up +2.0%, the most significant increase since 2002*. The rise in consumption raises concerns that more women may be having an alcoholic drink during pregnancy.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. The Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD), with co-sponsorship by First 5 Santa Clara County, has developed a public awareness campaign to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). The goal is to make women of childbearing age aware of the harmful effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Awareness efforts include social and digital media in both English and Spanish; mobile marketing; a video; and Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) bus advertisements. The, website has been developed in both English and Spanish. This campaign is a part of the County of Santa Clara’s efforts to prevent, detect, and provide support around FASDs.

The launch of the campaign will take place Wednesday, July 28, 2021 from 10:30 am to 11 am at Central Wellness Center, 2221 Enborg Lane, San Jose, on the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus. Mego Lien, Prevention Services Division Manager, BHSD, will be joined by Kathryn Page, PHD, President FASD NorCal, and Christine Clifford, an adoptive parent of a child with FASD. A Spanish language spokesperson will also be available for interviews.

FASDs are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby when consumed during pregnancy, and even when consumed before a woman knows she is pregnant. These problems can last a lifetime.

2020 saw the largest gain in alcohol consumption in nearly 20 years. It seems that Americans coped with pandemic related challenges by stocking up on alcohol. According to the International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR), alcohol consumption in the US increased by 2% last year, the largest increase since 2002*, and sales are continuing to rise in 2021. The rise in consumption raises concerns that more women may be having an alcoholic drink during pregnancy.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer. FASDs are preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy or when a woman might be pregnant.

FASDs last a lifetime. Recent studies estimate that approximately 1 to 5 percent of U.S. first-grade children have FASD**. If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is not too late to stop. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner a woman stops drinking the better it will be for her baby.

People who are born with FASD can have a mix of medical, behavioral, educational, and social problems. The kinds of problems depend on which type of FASD they have and can range from mild to severe. A person with an FASD might have:

  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
  • Small head size
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)

There is no cure for FASDs, but research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development.

*IWSR Drinks Market Analysis

**The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)—part of the National Institutes of Health, the Nation’s medical research agency.



News Release


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