CT Clearinghouse

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Prenatal exposure to alcohol (beer, wine, or hard liquor) is the leading cause of preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities.

Alcohol exposure during the first trimester, maybe even before a woman knows she is pregnant, can cause major birth defects.  Later in the pregnancy, drinking alcohol can cause poor fetal growth and brain damage that could lead to learning and behavioral issues.

How much alcohol consumption is too much during pregnancy?

There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.  Any amount of alcohol can harm the developing fetus.

It is best to stop drinking alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

What if the pregnant woman is unable to stop drinking alcohol?

She can get help by contacting her doctor, her local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, and/or local alcohol and drug treatment center.

The father and/or current partner of the pregnant woman can play a big part in helping the mother remain alcohol free during her pregnancy.  He/she can support her efforts to remain alcohol free. Family, friends and other support systems can also play a positive role. 

You can find related information under Prenatal Substance Exposure and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

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