Alcohol and Pregnancy: Know the Facts

February 6, 2008

Washington, DC -- The recent news story "Can Pregnant Women Drink Alcohol in Moderation?", which aired on ABC's Good Morning America Weekend, has created tremendous confusion among women about the safety of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly urges women not to ignore the public health warnings associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant.

ACOG is concerned that this television segment disseminated a potentially dangerous and mixed message to pregnant women. According to ACOG, patients who saw the show are asking their ob-gyns for clarification about whether moderate—or even light—drinking will impact the health of their baby. Therefore, ACOG reiterates its long-standing position that no amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.

Maternal alcohol use is the leading known cause of mental retardation and is a preventable cause of birth defects. Children exposed to alcohol in utero are at risk for growth deficiencies, facial deformities, central nervous impairment, behavioral disorders, and impaired intellectual development. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

The bottom line according to ACOG: Women should avoid alcohol entirely while pregnant or trying to conceive because damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows that she is pregnant.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the national medical organization representing over 52,000 members who provide health care for women.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998