Share this Story

How much alcohol is safe to drink while pregnant?

How safe is it to consume alcohol during pregnancy, if at all? Obstetrician/Gynecologist David Barrere explains the effects of alcohol on a fetus.

Your question
I have never been a big drinker, but like to have wine with dinner sometimes. How much alcohol is it safe to consume during pregnancy? - Mary in Metairie, Louisiana

The expert answers
Alcohol is a fetal teratogen -- a substance that can cause a fetal malformation. A well-documented syndrome, the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), is associated with alcohol use during pregnancy. FAS is characterized by:

  • Growth retardation before and/or after delivery
  • Facial dysmorphisms including an absent philtrum (The vertical groove in the upper lip.), flattened nasal bridge, small nose, thin upper lip, low set ears
  • Central nervous system (CNS) effects -- microcephaly, mental retardation, risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

There is a dose-dependent risk of malformation to the fetus, however, the exact threshold is not known. Alcohol use can be associated with malformations and nervous system, defects in the absence of full-blown FAS (the Fetal Alcohol Effect). With such uncertainty regarding the threshold for fetal impact, it is best to avoid all alcohol during pregnancy.

New in

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started