Pregnancy & Alcohol: A Dangerous Mix
Facts on Alcohol Use During Pregnancy
- Everything that a pregnant woman eats or drinks may affect her baby.
Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can hurt the baby.
- The most serious effect of alcohol consumption is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), the name given to a group of physical defects and developmental disabilities which include facial abnormalities, growth deficiencies, mental retardation, and behavioral and learning disabilities.
- Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE) is the term used to describe babies born with similar, but less severe, birth defects and disabilities.
- Because FAS is difficult to diagnose, the exact number of cases is unknown. There are an estimated 25 to 100 cases of infants born each year in Georgia with FAS; several times that number may experience FAE.
- Children who suffer the effects of fetal alcohol damage have life-long disabilities.
- There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.
Even if a pregnant woman drinks moderately, her child may experience developmental delays or learning disabilities.
Strategies for Preventing FAS and FAE
- Don't drink alcohol if you are pregnant. There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman can drink.
- Stop drinking now if you are pregnant. Stopping alcohol consumption at any time during a pregnancy can reduce the chance that the baby will have defects or disabilities.
- Stop drinking now if you are thinking about becoming pregnant. Drinking during the first weeks of pregnancy when you don't even know you are pregnant could hurt your baby.
- If you know someone who is pregnant, advise them of the risks of consuming alcohol. Women do not want to hurt their babies; they are likely to respond to requests that they stop or reduce their alcohol consumption while they are pregnant.
- If you provide services to women of reproductive age, or pregnant women, screen each woman for alcohol and substance abuse. Simple-to-use screening questions are available that will help you identify women who are abusing alcohol or other drugs. Learn how to identify those likely to need professional help.