Alcohol Use During Pregnancy

FASD is a term for a range of lifelong conditions that can occur in individuals who were exposed to alcohol before birth and often lead to disability. People with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder can have intellectual disabilities and issues with behavior and learning. School is often challenging and they have difficulty with math, memory, attention, judgement, and poor impulse control. If you have a problem with alcohol, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Addiction is a disease, and most people can’t manage it on their own.

They performed tests on IQ, attention span, and executive functions such as planning, organization, and self-control. They were unable to tell any difference between children whose mothers drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol and those who abstained completely during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy poses a potentially serious risk to the unborn baby. The standard advice is for people to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Experts say that women with certain risk factors should be especially careful about avoiding alcohol while pregnant.


There is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. They note, on their web sites, that pregnant women who drink alcohol risk giving birth to a child with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). These conditions range from mild to severe and include speech and language delays, learning disabilities, abnormal facial features, small head size, and many other problems. It is difficult to diagnose FASD because there is no biological test and other disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and Williams syndrome have similar symptoms. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy continues to be a serious problem.

alcohol during pregnancy

“If you didn’t know you were pregnant and you drank alcohol during early pregnancy, don’t panic. Talk to your GP or midwife about any concerns you may have. Your baby is in a constant state of growth and development over the entire course of your pregnancy. During the first four weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s heart, central nervous system, eyes, arms, and legs are developing. Your baby’s brain begins to develop around the third week and continues to mature through the rest of your pregnancy.

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Healthcare providers must educate women about what we know regarding alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Women must be allowed to make their own decisions based on the amount of risk they are willing to accept. Many will say, “If there is any risk, I will follow the guidelines and not drink at all.” Others may examine the risks and choose to have an occasional drink.

alcohol during pregnancy

Patient does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Hi thereI’m Veronica and have been on antabuse for 8 weeks and still trying really really hard to stay off alcohol..I did my hair dye just before using meds but I now need to seriously do my hair….. Most women give up alcohol once they know they’re pregnant or when they’re planning to become pregnant. Some women give up alcohol easily during pregnancy — especially if they develop an aversion to the taste and smell of booze.


A recent CDC study found that about one in eight pregnant women in the U.S. report drinking at least one alcoholic beverage in the past month. For decades, researchers have alcohol during pregnancy known that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. But the potential effects of small amounts of alcohol on a developing baby are not well understood.

It is also very difficult for healthcare professionals to regulate how much alcohol pregnant women are drinking. If you consume an excessive amount of alcohol during these crucial stages of development, you can cause serious harm to your baby. Results of excessive drinking (drinking on a regular basis or binge drinking) can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects. These are a lifetime, irreversible effects that can result in physical, mental, and neurobehavioral birth defects. Alcohol can cause problems for the baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant. Alcohol use in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features.

Adverse Maternal Outcomes From Alcohol Consumption

Drinking heavily throughout pregnancy can cause a baby to develop a serious condition called fetal alcohol syndrome. The symptoms include poor growth, distinct facial features and learning and behavioural problems. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful because the alcohol consumed crosses from the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta directly into the baby’s blood. The baby’s liver is one of the last organs to develop and it cannot process alcohol efficiently. As a result, too much exposure to alcohol can affect their development.

  • Alcohol is broken down more slowly in the immature body of the fetus than in the body of an adult.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant.
  • It notes that all types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all spirits, wines, and beer.
  • “Ask your partner or a friend to encourage and support you by cutting their drinking as well. Our Drinkaware app can help them stay on track,” says Morgan.
  • Women frequently come to us worried because they had a few drinks before they noticed a missed period.

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