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Alcohol's Effects on Health

Research-based information on drinking and its impact.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Alcohol and Pregnancy in the United States

Updated: 2024

Image of United States map. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) affect 1% to 5% of U.S. children in the first grade. Source: JAMA, 2018


  • According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS)—a survey of more than 400,000 people by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—during 2018–2020, nearly 14% of pregnant people ages 18 to 49 reported current drinking.1
  • Also according to BRFSS, during 2018–2020, about 5% of pregnant people ages 18 to 49 reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.1
  • According to 2022 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)—a survey of more than 71,000 people by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—11.0% of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 in the United States used alcohol in the past month.2
  • The 2022 NSDUH also found that 5.3% of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month.2
  • A study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of more than 6,000 children in first grade across four U.S. communities estimated that as many as 1% to 5% of first-grade children have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.3
According to SAMHSA, many (but not all) NSDUH estimates from 2022 are comparable with estimates from 2021, as along as updated 2021 estimates, presented in the 2022 Detailed Tables, are used. Please see the 2022 NSDUH Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


  1. Gosdin LK, Deputy NP, Kim SY, Dang EP, Denny CH. Alcohol consumption and binge drinking during pregnancy among adults aged 18–49 years — United States, 2018–2020. MMWR. 2022;71(1):10-3. PubMed PMID: 34990444
  2. SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 8.27B—Substance use in past month: among females aged 15 to 44; by pregnancy status, percentages, 2021 and 2022. [cited 2023 Nov 28]. Available from: 
  3. May PA, Chambers CD, Kalberg WO, Zellner J, Feldman H, Buckley D, Kopald D, Hasken JM, Xu R, Honerkamp-Smith G, Taras H, Manning MA, Robinson LK, Adam MP, Abdul-Rahman O, Vaux K, Jewett T, Elliott AJ, Kable JA, Akshoomoff N, Falk D, Arroyo JA, Hereld D, Riley EP, Charness ME, Coles CD, Warren KR, Jones KL, Hoyme HE. Prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in 4 U.S. communities. JAMA. 2018;319(5):474-82. PubMed PMID: 29411031
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