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April Alcohol Awareness Month Campaign

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. Each month, a new column written by an expert or experts in the field of FASD helps to explain complex clinical and science information in more easy-to-read terms.


The FASD Center has increased its involvement in Web-based training and education, producing a number of Webinars on a wide range of topics. These can be viewed on our Webinars page, which includes links the archived presentations and transcripts from each session.

FASD Research Review

Another new feature to the FASD Center Web site is the FASD in Review, providing summaries of recent research of interest in understanding the range and impact of FASD.

In the News and the FASD Database

Among the Center’s key Web resources are our In the News section and a searchable database of FASD materials which contains more than 16,000 items, including FASD literature, news stories, research publications, posters, and public service announcements (PSAs).

FASD and Native Communities

Our Native Communities page highlights how the FASD Center works with Native communities to spread the word that drinking during pregnancy can harm babies. Native cultures are known for their understanding of healing, wellness, and the cycles of nature. The FASD Center works with these strengths and the strengths of community elders to bring Native people messages about FASD that are culturally respectful and meaningful.

More Information on Alcohol and Pregnancy

  • Our new article, Risks to a Healthy Pregnancy, discusses recent information on women, alcohol use, and screening and prevention in pregnancy.
  • For more information on the impact of FASD, please see our About FASD and Frequently Asked Questions about FASD pages.
  • For our readers who have a friend or family member who is pregnant, our Have A Healthy Baby series of brochures provides tips on how to offer encouragement and support to avoid alcohol.
  • Awareness materials that can be personalized with your agency or organizational logo can be downloaded for free on our Customizable Materials page.