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What Every Woman Should Know about Alcohol and Pregnancy

Photo: Women at a baby shower.When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Read the 5 things every woman should know about drinking alcohol during pregnancy.


We’ve all heard that a woman shouldn’t drink while she’s pregnant or if she’s planning to get pregnant. Here’s why and what you should know.

5 Things You Should Know about Drinking Alcohol during Pregnancy

Photo: A pregnant woman eating an apple.
  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 think drinking alcohol during pregnancy won’t hurt their unborn baby. About 1 in 12 pregnant women in the United States reports alcohol use. And about 1 in 30 pregnant women in the United States reports binge drinking (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.

International FASD Awareness Day

Every year, September 9th is recognized as International FASD Awareness Day. The 9th day of the 9th month of the year symbolizes the nine months of pregnancy that a woman should avoid alcohol. Spread the word about the importance of having a healthy, alcohol-free pregnancy with family and friends.

More Information

Photo: A pregnant woman Put Down That Drink If You Are Pregnant (Or Trying to Be)! (Podcast2:28 minutes)

Photo: Sample Health-e-CardKnow someone who is thinking about getting pregnant?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC.

Photo: Sample Health-e-CardKnow someone who is pregnant?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC

Photo: Sample Health-e-CardKnow someone who just had a baby?
Send her this Health-e-Card from CDC

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

**Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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