Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs) are always caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Don’t drink alcohol if you’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant. The alcohol in your blood quickly passes through the placenta and to your baby through the umbilical cord and can seriously harm your baby’s development, both mentally and physically. There is no known safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. When you drink alcohol during pregnancy, so does your baby.

There are four main types of FASDs. All types of FASDs may cause your baby to have health problems. Alcohol can also cause your baby to be born too soon or with certain birth defects of the heart, brain or other organs. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also cause your baby to be born at a low birthweight and babies with FASDs can have:

  • Vision and hearing problems.

  • Learning and behavior problems.

  • Growth problems during pregnancy, after birth or both.

  • Speech and language delays.


The good news is that FASDs are 100 percent preventable. If you avoid alcohol during your pregnancy, your baby can’t have FASDs or any other health conditions caused by alcohol.

If you have been drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. Your baby’s brain is growing throughout pregnancy, so the sooner you stop drinking the safer it will be for you and your baby. Tell your health care provider if you need help to stop drinking alcohol.

For more information about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, and how you can get help check out the links below: