Alcohol and Pregnancy Do Not Mix

Here is something that most people don’t know.

If a woman avoids alcohol for the entire nine months of pregnancy, she has prevented the leading known cause of mental retardation in the United States: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Many women stop drinking as soon as they find out they are pregnant, but alcohol can affect an unborn baby even before a woman knows she’s pregnant.

The developing brain is highly vulnerable to the poisonous effects of alcohol at every stage of pregnancy – even the last trimester.

Alcohol is a legal drug – so why is this such a big deal?

Alcohol is one of the only substances with molecules small enough to pass into the brain, which means that the baby’s developing brain can be harmed any time that alcohol is there.

A person can look like everyone else, talk very well, have a typical IQ, but still have a brain that works very differently.

More than 39,000 Kentucky citizens are affected by FASD. Babies with FASD grow into adults with FASD, which means that many families face a lifelong struggle to help their loved ones find supportive education, housing and social networks.

Each of these families has its own story to tell. People in our community today are living with the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, a disability that is 100% preventable.

Alcohol during pregnancy can create a lifelong brain that:

  • Can’t link cause and effect
  • Forgets things
  • Can’t read social cues
  • Thinks like the brain of a younger person
  • Can’t move information from one situation to another
  • Lacks common sense

Please – make sure that everyone in your life knows that there is no safe TIME, no safe TYPE and no safe AMOUNT of alcohol if a woman is pregnant or is considering getting pregnant.

Laura Nagle is Kentucky’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders coordinator. Info: or contact Laura at