It’s safest not to drink during pregnancy. What does this mean?

No Safe Time “Zero for Nine” is best

There is no threshold of alcohol use in pregnancy that has been definitively proven safe. Exposure to alcohol at any time in a pregnancy can affect the fetus’ brain. Even from the very start of pregnancy, alcohol can have serious and permanent consequences.

What to tell women: There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Your baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy. In fact, it’s best to stop drinking before you get pregnant.

No Safe Kind

Binge drinking = more than 3 drinks

Any type of alcohol (beer, coolers, wine or spirits) can harm the fetus. Some of these drinks have higher alcohol content per volume than others. What matters is the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed, not the type of drink. Binge drinking and heavy drinking are very harmful to a fetus.

What to tell women: All types of alcohol (beer, coolers, wine, or spirits) can harm your baby. Binge drinking and heavy drinking are very harmful to a baby.

No Safe Amount

While some studies have shown minimal risk of harm at lower levels of consumption (e.g., 1-2 drinks a week), the potential for misunderstanding standard drink sizes and the impossibility of factoring in other individual risks (e.g., genetics, the effects of nutrition and stress, and other substance use) means that the safest course of action is to avoid alcohol completely.

What to tell women: It’s best not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. 

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