Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Causes Birth Defects

Drinking alcohol pregnant
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Drinking alcohol during pregnancy even before you know you are pregnant can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) which leads to life-long physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities for your child, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

It's called an alcohol-exposed pregnancy and this U.S. Government agency warns, "There is no known safe amount of alcohol – even beer or wine – that is safe for a woman to drink at any stage of pregnancy."

When you are pregnant and take a drink -- a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail -- your unborn child takes the same drink. Whatever you eat or drink while pregnant goes directly through your bloodstream into the placenta.

Little Tolerance for Alcohol

The alcohol interferes with the unborn child's ability to get enough oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and other body organs.

Research shows that a developing fetus has very little tolerance for alcohol and infants born to mothers who drink during pregnancy can suffer from FAS.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

FASD is a pattern of mental and physical defects which develops in some unborn babies when the mother drinks "too much" alcohol during pregnancy. The problem is nobody is certain just how much "too much" is.

A baby born with FAS can have serious handicaps and, therefore, could require a lifetime of special care.

This is why women who plan to get pregnant should stop drinking before they conceive, according to the CDC.

Potential Problems

For those who might think drinking during pregnancy is no big deal, here is a list of the potential problems your newborn could face as a result, according to Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse:

  • Small body size and weight
  • Slower than normal development and failure to "catch up."
  • Deformed ribs and sternum
  • Curved spine and hip dislocations
  • Bent, fused, webbed, or missing fingers or toes
  • Limited movement of joints
  • Small head
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Small eye openings and drooping eyelids
  • Skin webbing between eyes and base of nose
  • Nearsightedness
  • Failure of eyes to move in the same direction
  • Short upturned nose or a sunken nasal bridge
  • Flat or absent groove between nose and upper lip or a thin upper lip
  • Opening in roof of mouth
  • Low-set or poorly formed ears
  • Heart defects or heart murmurs
  • Genital malformations
  • Kidney and urinary defects
  • Central nervous system handicaps
  • Small brain
  • Faulty arrangement of brain cells and connective tissue
  • Mental retardation -- occasionally severe
  • Learning disabilities and short attention span
  • Irritability in infancy
  • Hyperactivity in childhood
  • Poor body, hand, and finger coordination

Permanent Effects of Drinking During Pregnancy

Birth defects are not temporary and can cause a lifetime of physical and emotional pain -- not to mention the health care expense. FASD is a large price for your child to pay for a few drinks during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, don't take a chance with your baby's future; stop drinking immediately.

If you have tried to stop and find that you just cannot seem to give it up, help and support are available.


U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: More than 3 million US women at risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancy (2016)