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"Can drinking alcohol result in a dead fetus?"

ZocdocAnswersCan drinking alcohol result in a dead fetus?


I am 28 and did not drink since getting pregnant four months ago. Can drinking cause my baby to die? I will not drink until much after it is born. I love my baby.


Thank you for your question. You have made the right decision not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol, particularly early in pregnancy and in large quantities, can produce irreversible brain damage and, in some cases, lead to miscarriage or intrauterine fetal demise (fetal death). More commonly that causing miscarriage, however, it causes the infant to be born with irreversible brain damage referred to as "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome." The risk of fetal alcohol syndrome depends on the timing of alcohol consumption (it is more likely during early development), as well as the quantity of alcohol you drink during pregnancy. Symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome include mental retardation, cognitive / attention deficits, and difficulty with impulse control, as well as a characteristic facial appearance including small eyes and a smooth, thin upper lip. These symptoms are permanent, and have no treatment or cure. Not every woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy will have a miscarriage or will have a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome, but the risk increases with every drink. There is no established safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, and the current recommendation from the US Surgeon General is that pregnant women do not drink any alcohol at all during pregnancy. You should continue not to drink alcohol during your pregnancy, and should always inform your OB/GYN about any alcohol or other toxic substances (such as other drugs) you take during pregnancy.

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