Alcohol and pregnancy: The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix.

Important Facts

There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy or when planning to be pregnant.

If you drink alcohol while you are pregnant, you may be at risk of giving birth to a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is a non-diagnostic term that describes a range of disabilities (physical, social, mental/emotional) that may affect people whose birth mothers drank alcohol while they were pregnant.

Pink baby shoes

FASD may include problems with learning and/or behaviour, doing math, thinking things through, learning from experience, understanding the consequences of his or her actions and remembering things.

No one knows how much alcohol it takes to harm a developing baby. When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, it rapidly reaches your baby through your bloodstream. The effect of alcohol on the developing baby can vary depending on the health of the pregnant woman and also the amount, pattern and timing of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Binge drinking (drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time) is especially bad for the developing baby.

Next Steps

Whether you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant already, stop drinking alcohol. No alcohol is the best (and the safest!) choice for having a healthy baby.

If you need help to stop drinking, you should ask your doctor, community health nurse, midwife or other health care professional for advice. Tell your partner, family, friends and community members who can all support you with this decision.

Common Questions About Alcohol and Pregnancy

What type of alcohol should I avoid?

Everything! Beer, wine, cocktails, coolers, hard liquors (such as whiskey, gin or vodka), liqueurs or even hard ciders all contain alcohol that can hurt your developing baby. There is no alcohol that is "safe" to drink when you are pregnant.

Are there times during pregnancy when it is okay to have alcohol?

There is no known time during pregnancy when it has been determined that it is safe to drink alcohol.

How much drinking causes FASD?

No one knows for sure how much drinking causes FASD. That means that there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink while you are pregnant.

Can FASD be cured?

FASD cannot be cured. People live with FASD for their entire life. However, people with FASD can still do very well with helpful supports and services. Some examples include special education, vocational programs, tutors, structured environments, and lifelong care. They can find paid work or go to school if given special assistance.

Can biological fathers cause FASD?

No. FASD can only be caused when a biological mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant. However, it is known that women with partners who drink are more likely to drink themselves during pregnancy. Future fathers can play a big role by supporting a woman's choice not to drink when they are having a baby.

For More Information

Information on FASD

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