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Drinking Alcohol When You're Pregnant


different kinds of alcoholic beverages



If you drink when you're pregnant, your baby's drinking, too.

And that can cause serious problems.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol and no known safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.Even if you only have one or two drinks, alcohol passes from your bloodstream to your baby.  That can affect brain development, causing lifelong disabilities. Children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) have problems with hearing, speech and vision.  They also have learning issues, poor memory, poor coordination and difficulty controlling their emotions. These challenges can make it tough for them to handle even simple tasks. 

Daily drinking and binge drinking (four or more drinks at a time) are the most risky.  But any amount of alcohol can hurt an unborn baby.  So it’s best not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.

If you need help to stop drinking:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider or someone you trust about services and supports.
  • Contact a Pregnancy Outreach Program.
  • Ask for help from a support group or alcohol and drug counselor.

If you can’t stop drinking completely, it’s important to reduce the amount you drink - less is better, none is best.

Partners of expectant moms can help by not drinking alcohol, and by joining in other kinds of social activities. Bring a bottle of sparkling juice to a friend’s house for dinner, or go to a movie instead of a bar or nightclub.

Protect Your Developing Baby

  • Plan to stop drinking before you're pregnant.
  • If you're already pregnant, try to stop as soon as possible. It's never too late.

Resources and Links:

Alcohol Effects on a Fetus
Public Health Agency of Canada: What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
Healthy Choices in Pregnancy

Last Updated: August 14, 2013