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April Alcohol Awareness Month

The Vital Importance of Alcohol Awareness in Pregnancy

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month every April as a way to inform Americans about the damage that excessive alcohol consumption can cause, and to encourage everyone to follow some simple guidelines:

  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Do not drink if you are under the legal drinking age.
  • If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, don’t drink alcohol at all. There is no known safe amount or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.

A recent survey by SAMHSA found that 18 percent of pregnant women reported drinking at least some alcohol during their first trimester, a time when many women may not know they are pregnant. However, the survey also found that alcohol use dropped to around four percent among pregnant women in their second and third trimesters. This result suggests that alcohol awareness campaigns by the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence and other agencies are helping many women heed the message to avoid alcohol once they know they are pregnant.

Drinking at any time during a pregnancy is concerning. Exposure to alcohol places the developing fetus at risk for the wide range of physical, intellectual, developmental, and behavioral problems known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Since almost one in five pregnant women drinks alcohol early in pregnancy and some continue to drink throughout their pregnancy, there remains much work to do to improve alcohol awareness and reduce the risk of FASD.

Resources from the SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence:

FASD Center Ask the Expert columns

In 2013, the FASD Center started a new “Ask the Expert” Web feature to promote awareness of FASD. This column features regular interviews with FASD providers and researchers, individuals affected by FASD, birth mothers, parents, friends/supporters, and other special guests who can provide a meaningful perspective on FASD.


The FASD Center’s Webinars page provides visitors with opportunities to learn about FASD and to increase awareness and interest in the prevention and treatment of FASD.

FASD in Review

Another new feature to the FASD Center Web site is FASD in Review, a series of summary papers that spotlight news, research, and other reports addressing FASD and alcohol prevention during pregnancy.

In the News and the FASD Database

Among the FASD Center’s key Web resources are our In the News section and a searchable Database of FASD materials. Here we have collected information on thousands of FASD-related resources, including audiotapes, books, CD-ROMs, newsletter, magazine, newspaper, and journal articles, pamphlets and booklets, posters, videos, slide shows, and Web-based materials.

More Information on Alcohol and Pregnancy

  • To learn more about FASD and frequently asked questions, please see our About FASD page.
  • Visit our Products section to view our extensive materials addressing FASD.
  • The FASD Center offers several online training Courses for providers, educators and families.
  • Visit our Interactive Map designed to share information on the progress and resources available by states and U.S. territories.
  • For a broad range of organizations and resources with FASD information visit our Resources page.