Alcohol and Pregnancy

[al-kuh-hawl, -hol] [and; unstressed uh nd] [preg-nuh n-see]

Pregnant woman saying no to glass of wine

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol before birth. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for a developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she’s pregnant. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer. To prevent FASDs, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant, or if there is a chance she might be pregnant.

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Key Facts

  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.
  • Women who are pregnant or who might be pregnant should not drink alcohol, including women who are trying to get pregnant.
  • All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.
  • FASDs last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASDs. But early intervention can improve a child’s development.

Media

Young girl kissing pregnant mother's belly

Healthy Pregnancy

FASDs are preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Fetal Development Chart

Development Chart

This development chart shows vulnerability of the developing baby to defects throughout pregnancy. Alcohol in the mother's blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.

Prevention Tips

  • Women who are pregnant or who might be pregnant should not drink alcohol. This includes women who are trying to get pregnant.
  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant.
  • The best advice is to stop drinking alcohol when you start trying to get pregnant.
  • It is never too late to stop drinking. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner you stop drinking, the safer it will be for you and your baby.

More at CDC.gov

Page last reviewed: August 30, 2019