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Alcohol’s Effect on Your Fetus: What to Know

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Alcohol and pregnancy simply don’t go together.

When you drink, the alcohol passes through the umbilical cord and placenta to your baby. It’s like your baby is drinking, too. This can keep your baby from growing the way he should. Alcohol can affect his brain and other organs. It also can cause other serious problems, including:

Miscarriage. You can lose your baby during the early few months of pregnancy.

Stillbirth. You can lose your baby in the womb during the second half of your pregnancy.

Preterm labor. Drinking can make your baby arrive too early. Premature babies can have many health problems. Those often include breathing trouble and other issues associated with immature lungs.

Birth defects. Some babies are born with heart or kidney problems. Others may have trouble seeing or hearing or other health issues.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). This can affect the way your baby looks, thinks, and learns. The mental and developmental disabilities usually last a lifetime. Binge drinking — when you have 4 or more drinks in a couple of hours — ups your baby’s chances of having this condition.

Babies and children with FASDs may:

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