Alcohol During Pregnancy: Is Complete Avoidance Necessary?

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

No Alcohol during Pregnancy

The FASD Prevention Conversation Project advocates that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume when pregnant or planning a pregnancy. The article below is not endorsed by the project, but does highlight why conversations about alcohol and pregnancy are needed and why these conversations can be difficult.

Alcohol use by pregnant women is regarded as teratogenic, and women are counseled to avoid alcohol during pregnancy. The American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee Opinion on At-Risk Drinking and Alcohol Dependence states unequivocally that obstetricians should give “compelling and clear advice to avoid alcohol use, provide assistance for achieving abstinence, or provide effective contraception to women who require help.”1

Despite these strong statements, the degree of teratogenicity of alcohol remains somewhat controversial, and opinions have evolved over time. For centuries, it has been known that alcohol can harm a fetus.2 For example, abnormalities in babies born to…

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