There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy
There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy, 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 who use alcohol while pregnant for counseling or treatment.
Did You Know?
Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading (and preventable) cause of birth defects and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the United States.
Alcohol passes easily from a mother’s bloodstream into the developing baby’s blood. Alcohol present in a developing baby’s bloodstream can interfere with development of the brain and other critical organs, structures, and physiological systems.
Find more information in this Fetal Alcohol Exposure handout (also available in Spanish). Be sure to check other resources below.
Resources on WIC Works
- Give Your Baby a Healthy Start: Tips for Pregnant Women and New Mothers - (also available in Spanish) - WIC agencies can download or order (for free!) from the WIC publication ordering page
- Substance Use Prevention: Screening, Education, and Referral Resource Guide for Local WIC Agencies - designed to help WIC staff integrate alcohol, drug, and other harmful substance use-related information and referral elements into their clinic activities
- Substance Use and Medication Safety - features a wide range of free materials and educational resources (many in Spanish) to learn more about, and educate participants on, alcohol use
- Substance Use During Pregnancy Quiz - take this quiz to check your familiarity about some substance use during pregnancy topics
- Substance Use During Breastfeeding Quiz - designed to help you check what you know about the effects of substance use during breastfeeding, and best practices for educating participants about this topic
- WIC Breastfeeding Support - moms can learn about how alcohol, smoking, drugs, and prescription medications, affect breastfeeding
- Alcohol and Your Pregnancy - an additional resource targeting American Indian moms that provides answers to common questions, and a handout
- The Indian Health Service’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) that offers alcohol and substance abuse programs within Tribal communities
- CDC fact sheets on Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk 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
- SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator for individuals who may need assistance with substance use or behavioral health issues (SAMHSA also provides language assistance services in more than 15 languages)
Coping with Stress and Mental Health Resources
- Maternal Mental Health
- Moms' Mental Health Matters
- Mental Health America - Finding Therapy
- Depression Among Women
- Depression & Anxiety During and After Pregnancy
- Postpartum Depression Facts
- and more