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The Risks of Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy

According to the Congressional Caucus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is the leading cause of mental retardation. However, the March of Dimes states that approximately 1 out of 12 pregnant women drink alcohol while pregnant. Although your obstetrician or midwife may warn you about drinking during pregnancy, many women fail to understand the risks associated with that seemingly innocent glass of champagne or that foamy mug of beer.

Alcohol During Pregnancy


Miscarriage and Stillbirth

Women who consume alcohol during pregnancy have a higher chance of developing a miscarriage or stillbirth, as well as giving birth prematurely.


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The most commonly known risk of drinking during pregnancy, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), causes deficient growth, abnormal facial features, brain damage, improperly formed organs and a range of mental birth defects.


Alcohol-related Birth Defects

If you drink alcohol during your first trimester, your baby may be born with alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD), which can affect multiple organ systems in his body, including the heart, kidneys, liver and eyes.


Alcohol-related Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Drinking at any point during your pregnancy can cause alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders (ARND) in your unborn baby, which are learning and behavioral problems such as speech and language delays, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, attention problems, poor performance in school and psychological problems.



Although the unborn babies of women who binge drink or consume more than seven alcoholic drinks during a week are more likely to develop birth defects, the U.S. Surgeon General states that any alcohol consumption during pregnancy may be harmful to your unborn baby.


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