…..Alcohol is a teratogen! A teratogen is a drug or any other substance that can affect the development of an embryo and can lead to birth defects or other developmental problems. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a constellation of physical, behavioral, and cognitive abnormalities in children resulting from a mother drinking alcohol during a pregnancy.
…..The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the rates for FAS in the United States range from 0.2 to 2 cases per 1000 live births. A less severe form of this problem, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), might be 3 times this rate.
…..There is always the question about how much alcohol will cause a problem. Will low levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy cause harm? What do low levels of alcohol mean? Will a small amount be OK?
…..It is important to remind ourselves that FAS and FASD are entirely preventable. These syndromes are not seen if a pregnant woman does not drink alcohol during her pregnancy. It is for this reason that the Surgeon General of the U.S. and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists direct health care clinicians to advise patients to abstain from alcohol completely during pregnancy.