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Health Topics: Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

At a Glance

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) can occur in individuals who were exposed to alcohol before birth. Prenatal alcohol exposure can carry significant risks for a developing baby. Alcohol can disrupt prenatal development at any stage during pregnancy, including at the earliest stages, often before a woman knows that she is pregnant.

Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading preventable cause of birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the United States. It can cause a range of intellectual and behavioral problems, which appear at any time during childhood and last a lifetime.

image of a pregnant woman being seen by a doctor

For help when it’s needed, call or text:

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline
1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746)
TTY Users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746

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