Little Evidence that Occasional Binge Drinking by Pregnant Women Harms Baby

Consistent heavy drinking throughout pregnancy has been associated with birth defects, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), especially if the woman also smokes tobacco, uses illegal drugs, obtains no prenatal medical care, and is poorly nourished during the pregnancy.

However, there is little evidence that occasional binge drinking during pregnancy seriously harms the fetus, according to an analysis of medical research published during the 35 year period between 1970 and 2005 involving over 3,500 articles. Binge drinking was defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks per occasion.

There was little evidence that binge drinking caused miscarriage, stillbirths, abnormal birthweight, or birth defects such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). However, there was some suggestion that it might impair normal neurodevelopment, although the effects were generally quite small, reported the researchers.

The investigators suggest that women avoid binge drinking during pregnancy.

Note: This site provides no medical opinion or advice and none should be inferred. For medical questions or advice, consult a qualified medical provider.


  • Henderson, J., Ulrik, K., and Gray, R. Systematic review of the fetal effects of prenatal binge-drinking. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2007, 61, 1069-1073.

Filed Under: Womens Health