Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are 100% preventable
In 2005, the surgeon general issued a warning to pregnant women and women who may become pregnant. He stated that women should not drink alcohol if they are pregnant or if they are considering becoming pregnant. He also advised that women who have already consumed alcohol during their pregnancy should stop drinking alcohol.
Not all birth defects can be prevented, but a woman can take some actions that increase her chance of having a healthy baby. Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy - sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
About half of all pregnancies are unplanned. You can expose your baby to alcohol if you drink without knowing you are pregnant. If you are trying to become pregnant, don't drink; and if you are sexually active, be sure to use contraception.
Just the facts
- Alcohol is a teratogen, a substance that causes developmental malformations.
- Alcohol passes through the mother’s blood to the baby.
- Alcohol crosses the placenta and enters the baby’s bloodstream. It can then pass into all developing tissues.
- Alcohol may also be transmitted to a baby during breastfeeding. This can cause central nervous system and brain damage, because the brain continues to develop after birth.
- FASD Center for Excellence - The Course
Remember, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption or safe time to drink during pregnancy!