Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix – This Is Why

With recent articles in the media about the lack of risk associated with moderate to heavy alcohol use in pregnancy, we need to spread the CDC message that “Alcohol and unprotected sex don’t mix!”  According to the 2005 Surgeon General’s updated advisory on alcohol, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should avoid alcohol, and childbearing age women using alcohol should avoid pregnancy.

“Based on the current, best science available we now know the following:

  • Alcohol consumed during pregnancy increases the risk of alcohol related birth defects, including growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities, central nervous system impairment, behavioral disorders, and impaired intellectual development.
  • No amount of alcohol consumption can be considered safe during pregnancy.
  • Alcohol can damage a fetus at any stage of pregnancy. Damage can occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, even before a woman knows that she is pregnant.
  • The cognitive deficits and behavioral problems resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure are lifelong.
  • Alcohol-related birth defects are completely preventable.

For these reasons:

  1. A pregnant woman should not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
  2. A pregnant woman who has already consumed alcohol during her pregnancy should stop in order to minimize further risk.
  3. A woman who is considering becoming pregnant should abstain from alcohol.
  4. Recognizing that nearly half of all births in the United States are unplanned, women of child-bearing age should consult their physician and take steps to reduce the possibility of prenatal alcohol exposure.
  5. Health professionals should inquire routinely about alcohol consumption by women of childbearing age, inform them of the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and advise them not to drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.”

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