The Dangers of Drinking for Two: Alcohol and Birth Defects
See also:fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and other alcohol-related problems.
Alcohol and Pregnancy Don't MixWhen a woman drinks alcoholic beverages, the alcohol in her blood crosses the placenta freely and enters the embryo or fetus through the umbilical cord. Children affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol may suffer lifelong consequences, including intellectual disability, learning disabilities, physical problems (like abnormal facial features or abnormal growth) and serious behavioral problems. All drinks containing alcohol can hurt an unborn baby. A standard 12-ounce can of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a four-ounce glass of wine or a one-ounce shot of straight liquor. In addition, some alcoholic drinks, such as malt beverages, wine coolers, and mixed drinks, often contain more alcohol than a 12-ounce can of beer. There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a woman can drink while pregnant. Any time a pregnant woman participates in regular drinking, she increases her chance of having a miscarriage and puts her unborn child at risk. Problems associated with prenatal exposure to alcohol can occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy, before a woman may even knows that she is pregnant. Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that about 1 in 8 pregnant women reported alcohol use during pregnancy.