CHOICES: Preventing Alcohol Exposed Pregnancies
Alcohol use during pregnancy is a major public health problem. One in 9 pregnant women reports alcohol use in the past 30 days.
Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause birth defects and developmental disabilities, collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Alcohol use during pregnancy is also linked to other outcomes, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm (early) birth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Few estimates for the full range of FASDs are available. Based on the National Institutes of Health-funded community studies using physical examinations, experts estimate that the full range of FASDs in the United States and some Western European countries might number as high as 1 to 5 per 100 school children (or 1% to 5% of the population).
FASDs are one of the leading preventable causes of developmental disabilities in the United States.
Many women become pregnant and do not know it until 4 to 6 weeks into the pregnancy. This means they might be drinking and unaware they are exposing the developing baby to alcohol.