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Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week -- May 11-17, 1997

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has designated May 11-17, 1997, as Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week. During this week, CDC, in collaboration with NCADD, will highlight the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on a fetus.

From 1991 to 1995, rates of alcohol use during pregnancy increased, especially for frequent drinking, underscoring the need for renewed attention to advising pregnant women to abstain from alcohol use. Associations between adverse pregnancy outcomes and moderate to heavy alcohol use during pregnancy continue to be reported. Health-care providers should educate women about the recommendations of the Surgeon General (1) and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (2) regarding the need for women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy to abstain from alcohol use.

State health departments can use state-based rates of reported frequent alcohol use by women of childbearing age to develop messages aimed at preventing alcohol use among pregnant women. In conjunction with a report in this issue of MMWR about alcohol use among childbearing-aged and pregnant women, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists is providing state health departments and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System coordinators with information focusing on fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and state-specific rates of self-reported alcohol use among women of childbearing age.

Additional information about Alcohol and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week is available from NCADD, telephone (212) 206-6770; World-Wide Web,; and from the National March of Dimes, telephone (888) 663-4637, Additional information about FAS and other alcohol-related birth defects and developmental disabilities is available from CDC, telephone (770) 488-7268,; and from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, telephone (301) 443-3860,


  1. Anonymous. Surgeon General's advisory on alcohol and pregnancy. FDA Drug Bull 1981;11:9-10.

  2. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Agriculture Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the dietary guidelines for Americans, 1995. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, 1995.

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