Each year in Minnesota, an estimated 7,000 babies are born with prenatal alcohol exposure that puts them at risk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD represents a range of mental, physical, and behavioral effects that permanently impact an individual’s ability to function in home, school, work, and community. Despite best efforts, FASD is still the leading known cause of developmental disability.
Prenatal exposure to alcohol continues to take place in Minnesota for a range of reasons:
- 45% of pregnancies in Minnesota are unplanned, so women could be continuing to drink alcohol and not be unaware they are pregnant;
- 1 in 5 women in Minnesota do not receive any message about alcohol use from their doctor, or are told they can drink lightly or in moderation; and
- Women may be dealing with chemical dependency and addiction during their pregnancy.
The goal of the “Pregnancy Announcement” campaign is to empower women in Minnesota with accurate information on the dangers of alcohol use during early pregnancy, and to encourage all women who are pregnant or may be pregnant to practice “049” – zero alcohol for nine months. MOFAS Executive Director, Sara Messelt says, “Ultimately, each woman will need to decide the level of risk they are comfortable with regarding drinking alcohol during pregnancy. But the goal of MOFAS is to ensure that all women have accurate public health information to make that decision.”
Especially in the flood of recent media regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on alcohol use and preconception health, it is important to reiterate that there is no controversy regarding alcohol use and pregnancy. The U.S. Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all agree:
There is no safe kind, no safe time, and no safe amount of alcohol while pregnant - even before the positive test. If you are trying to become pregnant, may be pregnant, or are currently pregnant, the safest choice is zero alcohol consumption.
The “Pregnancy Announcement” campaign was created by Boris Matas, Creative Director at Toronto-based design agency Anderson DDB. It cleverly adapts a series of actual pregnancy announcement YouTube videos into public awareness messages about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. “These videos have already generated millions of views and are a huge success on social media. Our hope was to retain the originality and spontaneity which resonates with young women and use that to educate on the very serious issue of FASD in a fun, positive, and impactful way”, says Mr. Matas.
The campaign will run statewide on cable, satellite and spot TV, digital advertising, and social media beginning April 2016.
Since 1998, the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome has been the hub of hope for families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), guiding and supporting families through the FASD journey. MOFAS is the leading voice and resource on FASD statewide, standing up for the rights of the FASD community, providing education and training so FASD is better understood and working to ensure that all women know that there is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. For more information, visit www.mofas.org.