PreventionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Doctors haven't identified a safe level of alcohol that a pregnant woman can consume. But experts do know that fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable if women don't drink alcohol during pregnancy.
These guidelines can help prevent fetal alcohol syndrome:
June 02, 2014
- Don't drink alcohol if you're trying to get pregnant. If you haven't already stopped drinking, stop as soon as you know you're pregnant or if you even think you might be pregnant. It's never too late to stop drinking during your pregnancy, but the sooner you stop, the better it is for your baby.
- Continue to avoid alcohol throughout your pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is completely preventable in children whose mothers don't drink during pregnancy.
- Consider giving up alcohol during your childbearing years if you're sexually active and you're having unprotected sex. Many pregnancies are unplanned, and damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.
- If you have an alcohol problem, get help before you get pregnant. Get professional help to determine your level of dependence on alcohol and to develop a treatment plan.
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/index.html. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Alcohol during pregnancy. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/alcohol-during-pregnancy.aspx#. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Effects of alcohol on a fetus. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/grabGo/factSheets.aspx. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Jansson LW. Infants of mothers with substance abuse. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Landgraf MN, et al. The diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome. Deutsches Arztebaltt International. 2013;110:703.
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- Petrenko CL, et al. Prevention of secondary conditions in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Identification of systems-level barriers. Maternal and Child Health Journal. In press. Accessed March 6, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 17, 2014.
- Tervo RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 11, 2014.