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Module 2: Effects of Alcohol on the Fetus

Transmission of Alcohol to the Fetus

Alcohol reaches the embryo and fetus  by passing through the mother’s blood. Alcohol crosses the placenta  and enters the fetal bloodstream. It can then pass into all developing tissues.

Alcohol may also be transmitted to a baby during breastfeeding.2  This can cause CNS and brain damage, because the brain continues to develop after birth. Some women used to be told to drink beer to help the flow of breast milk, which is a myth. Any alcohol consumption can harm the baby.


Multimedia Video: Describes how alcohol is transmitted from the mother to the fetus.

Multimedia Video: Additional information that describes the transmission of alcohol from the mother to the fetus.

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