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Information for Women

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CDC urges pregnant women not to drink alcohol any time during pregnancy.



 

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.

5 Things You Should Know about Drinking Alcohol during Pregnancy

  1. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born with birth defects and have disabilities. These conditions, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASDs, are among the top preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities. FASDs can cause problems in how a person grows, learns, looks, and acts. FASDs can also cause birth defects of the heart, brain, and other major organs. These problems last a lifetime.

  2. There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while pregnant. All drinks with alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A 12-ounce can of beer has as much alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1-ounce shot of liquor.

  3. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol can harm a baby at any time during pregnancy. It can cause problems in the early weeks of pregnancy, before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

  4. Too many women continue to drink during pregnancy. About 1 in 8 pregnant women in the United States reports alcohol use in the past 30 days. And about 1 in 50 pregnant women in the United States reports binge drinking in the past 30 days (having five or more drinks at one time)*.

  5. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are 100% preventable. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are 100% preventable-if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant.

*In these findings, binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks at one time in the past 30 days. More recently, the definition of binge drinking for women has been changed to four or more drinks at one time in the past 30 days.

 

Tip Sheets


If You Want to Get Pregnant

Plan to have a healthy baby - don't drink alcohol.
View and print this fact sheet with tips for not drinking alcohol if you are planning to get pregnant.

For more information on how to get ready for a healthy pregnancy, visit Planning Pregnancy.


If You're Pregnant

Think about your baby's health - don't drink alcohol.
View and print this fact sheet with tips for not drinking alcohol during pregnancy and strategies to stop drinking.

For more healthy pregnancy tips, visit CDC's healthy pregnancy page.

If You Are Not Planning to Get Pregnant

Take care of yourself "“ avoid risky drinking.
View and print this fact sheet with tips for not drinking too much alcohol and what to do if you drink at risky levels.



 

Standard-Sized Drinks


Standard-Sized Drink Equivalents Chart

Risky Drinking: More than 7 standard-sized drinks per week or more than 3 per occasion, and drinking when pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

* Note: Depending on factors such as the type of spirits and the recipe, one mixed drink can contain from one to three or more standard drinks.

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Produced by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

View and print the Standard-Sized Drinks card »

 

Tools


Click on the following links to learn more about risky drinking:

 

Get Help!


If you cannot stop drinking, get help! Contact your doctor, local Alcoholics Anonymous, or local alcohol treatment center.

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a treatment facility locator. This locator helps people find drug and alcohol treatment programs in their area.

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)
Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. Locate an A.A. program near you.


Learn about CDC's work in preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies, including research-based interventions.

 



 

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Only 1 in 6 adults has ever had a health professional talk to them about alcohol.

 

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Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

    Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

    1600 Clifton Road
    MS E-86
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO