Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Why Pregnancy and
Alcohol Don't Mix
Is it dangerous to
drink alcohol during pregnancy?
Yes. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be
dangerous to you and your baby. Babies born to mothers who drink during
pregnancy may have health problems. One of these problems is called fetal
What is fetal
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a group of problems in
children born to mothers who drank alcohol during their pregnancy. These babies
are usually small and underweight. They often have birth defects such as delayed
development and, as they grow older, they may have behavior problems. The most
serious problem is mental retardation.
How common is
fetal alcohol syndrome?
In the United States, about 1,200 children are
born each year with fetal alcohol syndrome. It is the leading cause of mental
retardation in this country.
How can I prevent
fetal alcohol syndrome?
The best thing you can do is stop drinking when
you are thinking about getting pregnant. If you get pregnant, quit drinking
alcohol and drink other beverages, like water or fruit juices.
Will it hurt my
baby even if I don't drink every day?
Yes. Even small amounts of alcohol can be
harmful. Because no amount of alcohol can be considered safe, pregnant women
should avoid all alcohol during the entire pregnancy. (Drinks with alcohol in
them include beer, wine, hard liquor and wine coolers.)
"Binge drinking"--having 5 or more drinks at a
time--is particularly dangerous for your baby, because it makes the level of
alcohol in your blood very high very quickly. So, even if you don't drink every
day, you may put your baby at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome.
What if I can't
Be honest with your doctor. Tell him or her how
much you are drinking. Your doctor may be able to help you stop drinking before
it hurts your baby.
Is there a cure
for fetal alcohol syndrome?
No, there is no cure. Children with fetal
alcohol syndrome can be helped, though. The treatment involves giving them good
medical and dental care, and eyeglasses or hearing aids if these are needed, and
placing them in special school programs.
The best way to treat fetal alcohol syndrome is
to stop it from happening. You can do this by not drinking alcohol during your
Remember these things
- No amount of alcohol is safe in
- If you usually drink, quit if you are trying to
get pregnant or if you think you're pregnant.
- If you can't quit drinking by yourself, get help