Pregnancy Pause event spreads fetal alcohol syndrome awareness

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JEFFERSON CITY - Nine is the magic number for pregnancy and a national group is using Tuesday's date, 9/9 at 9 in the morning, to spread an important message on protecting unborn children.

Tuesday is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day.

NOFAS, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, hosted a "pregnancy pause" event at the steps of the Capitol to raise awareness of the disease.

"We're trying to help women understand that they don't want to drink during pregnancy," said Missouri NOFAS president Leigh Tenkku Lepper. "Most women find out five or six weeks into their pregnancy, and that is really when the most damage can occur."

At 9 a.m., the NOFAS representatives stopped briefly to represent pausing from drinking during the nine months of pregnancy. 

Tenkku Lepper said the disease is very present in Missouri.

"Eighteen thousand women in Missouri will continue to drink in the first trimester," she said.

Tenkku Lepper said NOFAS moved the event to Jefferson City from the MU campus to make the issue known statewide.