Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born with birth defects and have disabilities. These conditions, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASDs, are among the top preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities. FASDs can cause problems in how a person grows, learns, looks, and acts. FASDs can also cause birth defects of the heart, brain, and other major organs. These problems last a lifetime.
There is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while pregnant. All drinks with alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A 12-ounce can of beer has as much alcohol as a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1-ounce shot of liquor.
There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol can harm a baby at any time during pregnancy. It can cause problems in the early weeks of pregnancy, before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
Too many women continue to drink during pregnancy. About 1 in 12 pregnant women in the United States reports alcohol use. And about 1 in 30 pregnant women in the United States reports binge drinking (having five or more drinks at one time)*.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are 100% preventable, if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant.
*In these findings, binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks at one time. More recently, the definition of binge drinking for women has been changed to four or more drinks at one time.
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