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Alcohol and Substance Use during Pregnancy

Prenatal substance abuse happens when an expectant mother uses drugs and/or alcohol, significantly increasing the risk for developmental and neurological disabilities in the developing fetus. Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and most women are pregnant for four to six weeks before even knowing they are. Without even knowing it, women risk exposing their developing babies to alcohol due to drinking and not using birth control during sex to prevent pregnancy. Therefore, women should not drink alcohol if they are sexually active and aren’t using long acting reversible contraception (LARC), because whenever a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby There is no safe amount of alcohol to use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant, and there is no safe time during pregnancy to drink. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including wine and beer.

Impacts of Alcohol on overall health

  • increased risk of health problems including liver disease, brain damage and breast cancer;
  • women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol’s effects;
  • consider contraceptive options and use protection if you are not trying to become pregnant;
  • remember: NO amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.

Information on Alcohol Use during Pregnancy

Prenatal Substance Abuse

Opioid Use and Pregnancy

Medication Use During Pregnancy

Alcohol and Other Drug Use During Pregnancy

Tobacco Use and Pregnancy