Safe Use of Alcohol During Pregnancy?

A review of the scientific medical research evidence reveals that:

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) occurs only in babies whose mothers habitually consume alcohol during their pregnancy at a rate of 50-60 grams per day. That equals 3.5 to 4.25 U.S. standard drinks per day. Standard drinks are 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of dinner wine or a shot (1.5 ounces) of distilled spirits (vodka, whiskey, rum, and so on).
  • Factors contributing to FAS include poor nutrition, caffeine, nicotine, age, genetic and other factors.
  • “At risk” groups in all countries and populations are minority groups with a lower socio-economic status, such as Native Americans, Native Australians, and African Americans.

    Standard Drinks and Alcohol Equivalence

    Learn what they are and why they'’re very important.

  • The incidence of FAS varies from about one per 10,000 births to about one per 100,000 births.

Although moderate drinking during pregnancy can be described as safe in that it appears to pose no risk for FAS, there is still good reason to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. It is possible that undetected negative consequences occur at lower levels of consumption. For example, perhaps drinking alcohol causes some babies to have one or two points lower I.Q. than other babies. That would be essentially impossible to detect but desirable to avoid.


  • Stockley, Criena. The safe use of alcohol during pregnancy. AIM Digest, April, 2005.

This web site does not provide medical opinion or advice and none should be inferred. Always consult a qualified physician or other qualified health professional for health and medical advice.

Filed Under: Health