What You Should Know about Alcohol and Pregnancy
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Women also should not drink alcohol if they are planning to become pregnant or are sexually active and do not use effective birth control.
This is because a woman could become pregnant and not know for several weeks or more. In the United States half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
Why is Alcohol Dangerous during Pregnancy?
When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Alcohol in the mother's blood passes through the placenta to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Read more about the characteristics and behaviors of children with FASDs and how much alcohol is too much to drink during pregnancy.
FASDs are 100% preventable
Information for Health Care Providers
CDC's FASD website offers tools and information about FASDs for health care providers, including guidelines for screening and advising patients of reproductive age about risky drinking as well as free educational materials to give to patients.
- CDC's FASD web site
- National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, FASD Center for Excellence
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- March of Dimes
- CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
- CDC's Office of Women's Health
- Put Down That Drink If You Are Pregnant (Or Trying to Be)! [PODCAST - 2:28 minutes]
- Page last reviewed: August 28, 2014
- Page last updated: April 19, 2010
- Content source:
- National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs