7 doctors weighed in:

Will drinking during pregnancy always result in fetal alcohol syndrome?

7 doctors weighed in
2 doctors agree

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Thank
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Thank
Dr. William Singer
Pediatrics - Neurology

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
however, in heavy daily drinkers, the rate of fetal alcohol EFFECTS (not the full syndrome, but significant pieces of it) is VERY HIGH.
Dr. David Finke
Obstetrics & Gynecology

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Jonathan Jassey
Board Certified, Pediatrics
15 years in practice
1M people helped
Continue
111,000 doctors available