Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: The Facts

There is only one thing that prevents FASD – zero exposure to alcohol while pregnant. But there are complex reasons why preventing alcohol use in pregnancy is hard, and many misconceptions around why alcohol exposure continues to happen.

New Zealand’s drinking culture and unplanned pregnancy rate are crucial barriers to FASD being prevented. Rates of FASD will reduce when our society stops normalising heavy use of alcohol, and when women are fully informed and supported to make abstaining the easy choice during pregnancy.

The essential knowledge is that NO amount of alcohol is safe in pregnancy and everyone in a pregnant woman's whānau and community should support her in this.

If drinking in the early stages of an unplanned pregnancy has occurred, then stopping immediately will reduce the possibility of FASD. It is wise to seek professional help if stopping drinking at any time during pregnancy becomes difficult.

FASD-CAN is primarily concerned with supporting individuals with FASD and their whānau and caregivers, but there is much more information about alcohol use in pregnancy from some of our partner agencies below. 

At FASD-CAN we know that no woman intentionally harms her unborn baby and we are committed to being non-judgemental and supportive in the presence of FASD.


Further information

• Our partner organisation Alcohol Healthwatch has an excellent information sheet about prenatal alcohol exposure and its longterm effects if the child is born with FASD. This is a very helpful resource to pass on to anyone trying to get pregnant, or who is already pregnant. Click here to download.

• The Amohia te Wiaora (We're Stronger Without Alcohol) website also has a helpful pamphlet to download and print here.

.• The Australian website FASDHub has more about alcohol in pregnancy here.

Pregnant Pause in Australia has lots of information about alcohol in pregnancy. 

• There is an excellent campaign running in Australia until 2024 about alcohol in pregnancy called Every Moment Matters.