One drink can. Even a single ill-timed drink in a woman with excess production of acetylaldehyde can casue fetal alcohol syndorme. It is best to not drink at all if trying to get pregnant or already pregnant.
Unknown. The actual intake of alcohol during the prenatal period which can result in damage to the fetus is unknown. There are equally important factors associated with poor diet, drug intake other than alcohol, and the duration of these exposures. Babies are very resistent changes, but if the mother is a severe drug/alcoholic abuser, it can detract from the ability for normal fetal development..
There is no known. Safe amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy. ½ oz. Of absolute alcohol/ day can alter fetal brain development. Binge drinking on weekends, 4 drinks in an evening for women, is most harmful. The fetal brain starts to develop 3 weeks after conception or 1 week gestational age; other fetal organs soon after. The average for diagnosis of pregnancy is 8 weeks gestation. See http://fasdcenter. Samhsa. Gov.
Variable effect. The 1st cases were described in the 60's born to skid row mom's who often died within a year. These heavily exposed infants had many specific features that gave rise to the label. The brain, a major target of alcohol byproducts, suffered the most permanent damage. Today even small amounts of alcohol exposure are thought to cause much of the ADD seen today. There is no proven safe level.
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.
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.
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.
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.