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Module 2: Effects of Alcohol on the Fetus

Risky Consumption Levels

Zero exposure equals zero risk

Researchers do not know the amount or timing of alcohol consumption that causes damage. There is no exact threshold amount. Studies show that as few as seven standard drinks  per week, or one drink per day, can cause damage.3  Binge drinking, four or more drinks in about two hours,4  can be especially harmful. Higher levels of consumption increase the risk of fetal damage.

The only statement that can be made with complete accuracy is that zero exposure to alcohol equals zero risk of acquiring an FASD. Therefore, no woman should drink at any point during her pregnancy. Women who had alcohol before knowing they were pregnant should stop drinking immediately. Doing so can reduce the risk of fetal harm. Women who struggle to stop drinking should consult with a trusted doctor or seek help from local resources such as community health centers and/or treatment programs.

Multimedia Video: Describes Kathy's personal experience and consequences of drinking alcohol when pregnant.

Multimedia Video: Describes Kathy's personal experience and the effects drinking alcohol while pregnant had on her daughter Karli.

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