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Alcohol in pregnancy

Alcohol is a teratogen

Teratogens cross the placenta and cause malformations in a fetus and interfere with its development. When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol in her bloodstream passes freely through the placenta into the fetus’ blood. Because the fetus does not have a fully developed liver, it cannot filter out the toxins from the alcohol as the mother can. Instead, the alcohol circulates in the fetus’ blood system which can harm brain cells and damage the nervous system of the developing baby throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.

Just one drink is ok, right?

The UK Chief Medical Officers advise to avoid alcohol completely when pregnant or if you could become pregnant as this is safest.

This is because there is no proven safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy and studies show even low level alcohol use still may affect the developing baby. #WhyRiskIt

What can alcohol do to a developing fetus?

FASD Facts

Alcohol is more damaging to a developing baby than heroin
There is no known safe level of alcohol use in pregnancy
Alcohol use in pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and still birth
FASD is caused by prenatal alcohol exposure
FASD is more common than autism
FASD is a lifelong condition
There is no mild FASD
There are 428 conditions associated with prenatal alcohol exposure
The FASD community are working hard to eradicate shame and blame culture
In most cases you cannot tell at birth if someone has FASD
By choosing to avoid alcohol the baby will be healthier
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Choosing alcohol free?

Completely avoiding alcohol in pregnancy will ensure your baby isn’t born with FASD and can part of a healthier lifestyle.

Healthier pregnancies mean healthier kids.

Here are some choices you can make: 

For further info visit the NHS website.

Not every alcohol exposed pregnancy results in FASD.

No one can predict which child who was exposed to alcohol in pregnancy will have FASD.


Been drinking alcohol in pregnancy?

Had some drinks before you knew?

You are not alone. We know there are many reasons women might drink in pregnancy. There is no judgement here. Many pregnancies are unplanned. Sometimes women have not had the information they need to understand the risks of alcohol in pregnancy.

It’s better for baby the sooner you can stop – the brain in particular is developing throughout the pregnancy.

Visit our ‘I drank before I knew I was pregnant‘ page for further info.

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Alcohol & Pregnancy leaflets

We have produced informative leaflets.

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