The CDC Says No Alcohol for Women Not on Birth Control

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By Michelle Mukonyora

5 February 2016

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a report advising women who are not on birth control to avoid drinking alcohol. The report cites concerns about babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome disorders (FASDs) when their mothers do not stop drinking alcohol during conception and pregnancy. Apparently three in four women do not stop drinking alcohol when they are trying to conceive. FASDs are a spectrum of disorders that may be physical, behavioural or intellectual, and they last a lifetime (See Figure 1). ​

Figure 1: Alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to lifelong effects
Image from the Center for Disease Control website (http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/fasd/index.html)

As much as FASDs are a genuine concern, the CDCs recommendations were not welcomed by a lot of people.  Some people felt that the recommendations were extreme and sexist. Though it is reported that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, a lot of medical doctors allow pregnant women to consume low amounts of alcohol, with no side effects.