Why Go the Whole 9?
Our goal is to provide information that is based upon the most current research and consistent with all major medical associations, like the Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Health, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, and the Surgeon General of the United States. As knowledge and understanding of fetal development evolves and changes over time, it is important to be well educated on how to make the healthiest choices possible during pregnancy.
How Much and What Types of Alcohol Can you Consume?
Some pregnancies appear to be extremely sensitive to the toxic effects of the alcohol and even use of a small amount by mom might be dangerous. Therefore, all major medical associations have adopted the stance that NO AMOUNT of alcohol is known to be safe, therefore it is best to completely obtain during pregnancy.
Wine, beer and hard liquor all have alcohol content. No beverage that contains alcohol is safe to use during pregnancy, including red wine. In fact, a glass of wine (5 ounces) has about the same amount of alcohol as a bottle of beer (12 ounces) or a shot of hard liquor (1.25 ounces)! For more information please click here.
At What Stage Should you Stop Consuming Alcohol?
When a person consumes alcohol it enters their bloodstream. In a pregnant woman the alcohol passes through the placenta and umbilical cord and enters the bloodstream of the fetus. When fetal tissue is developing it is sensitive to the toxic affects of alcohol and can be changed or damaged by alcohol consumed by mom. During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester) virtually all organ systems (including the brain) and body parts are forming. Unfortunately many women do not know they are pregnant right away. However, the toxic effects of the alcohol can begin to change fetal tissue very early. It seems very unfair that life-long damage can happen before anyone is even aware of the pregnancy. Therefore, it is important that everyone understands the risks associated with alcohol use and an unintended pregnancy. Ideally, if a woman is planning a pregnancy or might become pregnant, she should not be using alcohol. When there is an unintended pregnancy and alcohol has been used, the most important thing is to stop using and inform the doctor. If stopping is difficult, there is help available. Just because a woman does not know she is pregnant, DOES NOT mean alcohol is safe.
While some organs and body parts complete their development fairly early in the pregnancy, the brain continues to develop through the ENTIRE pregnancy, making it vulnerable to damage anytime alcohol is consumed. Therefore, at no stage of pregnancy is it safe to use alcohol.
For a brief informational fact sheet on alcohol and pregnancy from the NOFAS, please click here. Or, visit our Resources Page for a list of reputable websites where additional information may be obtained, many of which include free downloadable handouts.
Even if you are not pregnant, you have the ability to impact the life of a future child … simply by spreading this information. No child ever has to be born again damaged by prenatal alcohol exposure!