When you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, the safest option is to not drink alcohol at all. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy puts your baby at risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, also known as FASD. FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the range of disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. It is the leading known cause of developmental disability in children, and includes lifelong physical, learning and behavioural disabilities.
Similar to drinking alcohol while pregnant, taking drugs during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm your baby. This includes prohibited drugs but could also include the misuse of prescribed or over the counter drugs.
For more information about FASD, the use of alcohol and other drugs (substance use) during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and where to find help, visit the resources and websites listed below.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
For information on FASD and the effects it can have on your baby’s health, see:
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (HealthLinkBC File #38e)
- Health Canada: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Ministry of Child and Family Development: About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Public Health Agency of Canada: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Substance Use During Pregnancy
For more information about the use of alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy visit:
Substance Use While Breastfeeding
For resources related to breastfeeding and substance use, visit:
Support and Counselling
Individual, family, and small group counselling is available to people of all ages who are directly or indirectly affected by alcohol and other drug use. You can call the 24-hour BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service at 604-660-9382 or toll-free at 1-800-663-1441. For information about mental health and substance use, visit:
For additional mental health and substance use support in your area, search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory.
Last Reviewed: January 2015