Pregnancy, alcohol don’t mix

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By Jennifer Steffen, NP, InterMed Women’s Health

Parties, celebrations, toasts, and toddies. The holiday season is upon us. This year you are pregnant. What amount of alcohol is safe to consume while pregnant? The answer is … none.

The US Surgeon General, Center for Disease Control (CDC), March of Dimes and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advise that pregnant women not drink any amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy.

Alcohol is a teratogen, which means that that drinking alcohol during pregnancy — even in modest amounts — has been connected to the formation of birth defects. Alcohol passes directly through the umbilical cord to the baby and is the leading cause of preventable birth defects. These defects are not reversible and have lifelong physical, behavioral and neurological consequences. The most severe form results in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Drinking any amount of alcohol while pregnant could cause:

  • Damage to your baby’s developing brain, resulting in impaired intellectual and psychomotor development, learning and social difficulties, impulse control and associated mental health conditions
  • Facial and skeletal malformations
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Kidney problems
  • Problems with growth
  • Vision and hearing problems
  • Miscarriage or premature birth

Related links:
Alcohol and Women (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)
Alcohol Use in Pregnancy (CDC)
Pregnancy (March of Dimes)
Surgeon General’s Advisory on Alcohol Use in Pregnancy