Health and Wellness
Alcohol Use and its Impact on Women's Health
No known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy
There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy. There is also no safe time to drink when pregnant, and not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. While WIC’s role in preventing substance abuse is limited, staff can play a valuable part in the process by providing information about alcohol's impact on women's health, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and refer participants suspected of alcohol abuse for counseling or treatment.
Among the resources to assist WIC agencies with their education efforts in this area are the brochure Give Your Baby a Healthy Start: Tips for Pregnant Women and New Mothers, that agencies can download or order (for free!) from the WIC publication ordering page.
Additional information and resources can be found in the Substance Use Prevention: Screening, Education and Referral Resource Guide for Local WIC Agencies. This guide is designed to help WIC staff integrate alcohol, drug and other harmful substance use related information and referral elements into their clinic activities. It contains a wealth of available resources and links to access a variety of appropriate educational materials for WIC participants and training materials for WIC staff.
The Substance Use and Medication Safety page also offers a wide range of free materials and educational resources, many in Spanish, to learn more about, and educate participants on, alcohol use.
A resource for WIC moms is the WIC Breastfeeding Support site, where they can learn about how alcohol, as well as smoking, drugs and prescription medications, affect breastfeeding.
Other resources to assist with efforts to inform women participants about the dangers of alcohol use, and other substances, include:
- CDC fact sheets on Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women's Health
- The Office on Women’s Health blog post, “What’s Your Relationship With Alcohol?”, to help women better understand their relationship with alcohol and what it means for their health and that of their children and family
- The Indian Health Service’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) that offers alcohol and substance abuse programs within Tribal communities
- SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator for individuals who may need assistance with substance use or behavior health issues (SAMHSA also provides language assistance services in more than 15 languages)
Indian Health Service
HHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
HHS, Office on Women's Health
HHS, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration