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.
Alcohol is teratogen. A teratogen is any agent, substance or occurrence which can induce abnormalities of development in the developing embryo or fetus. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a range of lifelong disorders, known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Prenatal exposure to teratogens can cause:
- Premature birth
- Pre & postnatal growth retardation
- Physical malformations
- Cognitive and behavioral problems