Prevention

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Women need to know that it is not safe to drink alcohol if they are planning to become pregnant or are sexually active and do not use effective birth control. This is because a woman could become pregnant and not know for several weeks or more. In Hawaii, almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned.

  • When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby.  Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes through the placenta to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
  • “Of all the substances of abuse (including cocaine, heroin and marijuana), alcohol produces by far, the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus,” (Institute of Medicine Report 1996).   The affects of alcohol on the fetus will vary depending on the:
    • amount and frequency of alcohol used during pregnancy, and
    • at different stages of fetus development.

The outcomes are unpredictable and can lead to serious birth defects.

If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop.  The sooner a woman stops drinking, the better it will be for both her baby and herself.  If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, get the support and guidance you need.

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