Alcohol, Drugs and Childbirth do not go together. Yet, in the U.S., 20% (about 1 million) of pregnant women smoke cigarettes; another 18% (about 750,000) drink alcohol during pregnancy; and another 6% (225,000) use an illicit drug at least once while carrying a child to term.
Starting each year on Mother’s Day, Alcohol- and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week is a reminder that alcohol and drug use during pregnancy can be detrimental to a mother and her child. Prenatal alcohol and drug use can result in a spectrum of adverse conditions. One of the most severe outcomes being fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is the constellation of developmental defects that result from maternal abuse of alcohol during pregnancy, including infant facial malformations, growth deficits, and central nervous system problems that can persist throughout a child’s life.
Approximately one in every 100 children born nation-wide is adversely affected by prenatal alcohol and drug exposure, including children with the full fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as children who may not have all of the external features of the syndrome, but whose brains have been injured.
Substance Use Prevention
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
CDC – Alcohol Use in Pregnancy
CDC – Medication Use During Pregnancy
CDC – Tobacco Use and Pregnancy
CDC – Preventing Birth Defects