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A 34-year-old member asked:

Will drinking during pregnancy always result in fetal alcohol syndrome?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Finke
Obstetrics and Gynecology 17 years experience
We don't know: We don't know if there is a "safe" amount to drink during pregnancy. We do know that repeated, continuous exposure to alcohol for a growing baby will cause fetal alcohol syndrome. We don't know how much is too much. For this reason, you won't hear a lot of doctors/midwives say drinking occasionally is ok. I think one glass of wine on rare occasions is safe.
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Dr. Gwendolyn Messer
Specializes in Pediatrics
Not always, but...: Alcohol can damage a baby's brain causing cognitive, learning, emotional and behavior problems. We don't know how much alcohol it takes, but we do know that drinking too much on just a few occasions can cause FAS even if you don't drink at all during the rest of the pregnancy! best option—no drinking while pregnant. Next best—stop drinking as early as possible in pregnancy.
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Dr. William Singer
Pediatric Neurology 53 years experience
No: Concern about alcohol intake during pregnancy is a great concern. But the great majority of children whose mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy do not have FAS.
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Dr. Alan Wartenberg
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
however, in heavy daily drinkers, the rate of fetal alcohol EFFECTS (not the full syndrome, but significant pieces of it) is VERY HIGH.
Jul 3, 2015
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Dose/time related: We know that alcohol freely passes to the fetus.We know it breaks down to formaldehyde & other byproducts that are toxic to nerves and tissue.The worst cases of FAS occur to alcoholics, but lesser fetal alcohol effects like ADHD or learning problems overlap with other causes.Making a definitive statement about all drinking is difficult. However, we also know of no safe level for alcohol exposure.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Jun 27, 2022
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