Document Type : Review Article


Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Background: Alcohol is a potent teratogen and alcohol use in pregnancy and the periconception period can cause many complications in mother, fetus and neonate. 
Discussion: 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. Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBDs) and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) in addition to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are known as potential effects of alcohol use during pregnancy. Alcohol-related facial dysmorphology and growth deficiencies were increased in women with first trimester alcohol exposure and alcohol consumption in the second trimester affected birth weight and length and third trimester exposure affected length. Stillbirth and FAS are the most severe consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure. A diagnosis of FAS requires characteristic facial anomalies, growth retardation, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities. ARBD includes a confirmed history of maternal alcohol use plus one or more congenital defects, most often cardiac, renal, vision, hearing, or skeletal. Premature labor or preterm birth (small for gestational age neonates) is another complication of alcohol use in pregnancy. Excessive alcohol intake by mother can cause placental abruption which is dangerous for fetus and mother. Alcohol is one of the most frequent none genetic causes of mental retardation as well as leading cause of preventable birth defects.
Conclusion: Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant should be advised to abstain from drinking alcohol.