Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy and Birth Defects (Including FAS)

Researchers in Australia investigated the association between drinking alcohol during pregnancy and birth defects using a cohort of 4,714 women. The level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy was assessed separately for the first, second and third trimesters.

Heavy drinking during the first trimester increased the risk of giving birth to a child with an alcohol-related birth defect. This suggests the need to increase awareness of the danger of drinking heavily during the first trimester of pregnancy.

There was no evidence that low, moderate or heavy drinking during the second or third trimester was associated with any birth defect, including alcohol-related birth defects.

Note: This website is informational only and no suggestions or recommendations about drinking and any other matter are made and should not be inferred.


  • O'Leary, C.M., et al. Prenatal alcohol exposure and risk of birth defects. Pediatrics, 2010, 126(4), e843-e850.

Filed Under: Women's Health