|January 2008 · Vol. 20, No. 01
Prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome requires routine screening of all women of reproductive age
Alcohol-related neurobehavioral abnormalities may affect three additional children for every one child diagnosed with classic fetal alcohol syndrome
One in 50 pregnant women reported binge drinking during the current pregnancy
ACOG recommends screening all women of childbearing age for at-risk alcohol consumption
Maternal alcohol consumption is the largest preventable contributor to birth defects and childhood neurodevelopmental disability
Dr. Wilkins-Haug is Division Director, Maternal–Fetal Medicine and Reproductive Genetics, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The author reports no financial relationships relevant to this article.
Investigations of maternal alcohol consumption have consistently produced the same finding: Even a low level of alcohol—especially in the first trimester—has a harmful effect on fetal development. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatricians, and the US Surgeon General now support the tenet that no lower limit of alcohol consumption is safe during pregnancy.