Information to which special attention should be paidPregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy.

Pregnant women are advised not to drink alcohol during their pregnancy. Even a small amount of alcohol can have adverse effects. And the more alcohol consumed, the greater the potential harm to the baby. Binge drinking and regular consumption of alcohol are especially harmful.

The effect of alcohol on the baby is the same, regardless of the type of drink—beer, wine, or spirits.

Alcohol can have numerous harmful effects during pregnancy: it can result in miscarriage and cause hypertension (see High blood pressure (hypertension) during pregnancy and placental abnormalities.

Essential information to rememberThe placenta does not filter alcohol: it lets alcohol through to the baby.

Alcohol can also negatively affect organ development in the fetus and cause birth defects and health problems. The brain is the organ most sensitive to fetal alcohol exposure. Alcohol can cause damage to the baby’s brain, leading to learning and behavioural disorders. These disorders can have a significant impact throughout a child’s life. Since the brain develops throughout pregnancy, it is recommended not to drink alcohol, regardless of the trimester.

If you do drink alcohol while pregnant or did so before you knew you were pregnant, don’t hesitate to talk to your health professional.

Essential information to rememberTake advantage of your pregnancy to try different non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

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A few tips

Explain to your partner, family and friends that it’s important for you to not drink alcohol. This will help them support you better.

Use your pregnancy as an opportunity to try out non‑alcoholic drinks and mocktails:

  • Sparkling water flavoured with sliced fruit or cucumber, fresh herbs, syrup (e.g., grenadine, ginger, grapefruit), or juice
  • Homemade iced tea or chilled fruit infusions
  • Virgin (alcohol-free) versions of your favourite cocktails (mocktails)

Most bars and restaurants offer a selection of mocktails. Ask your server.

For more information on the risks of using alcohol during pregnancy and a list of resources, visit the FASD – Alcohol‑Free Pregnancy website.