Birth conditions (a.k.a. birth defects) happen while a baby is growing during pregnancy. About 500 babies in New Hampshire are born each year with a birth condition. Causes of most birth conditions are still a mystery, but you can reduce your risk by not smoking, taking drugs or drinking during pregnancy.
Don't smoke: Smoking during pregnancy doubles your risk of having a low birth-weight baby, slows fetal growth, and increases the risk of pre-term delivery and sudden infant death syndrome.
Don't take drugs: Drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy can cause birth conditions. Even some prescription drugs can cause birth conditions. It is important to talk with your doctor about all the drugs you may be taking.
Don't drink alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases your risk of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. Alcohol can also cause a wide range of mental and physical birth conditions such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). There is no safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
If you drink alcohol while pregnant, your baby could be born with a condition called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD).
FASD is 100% Preventable if you do not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
The effects of FASD vary among individual babies born and children. Outcomes associated with FASD can include:
- Specific facial characteristics
- Growth deficits
- Mental retardation
- Heart, lung, and kidney defects
- Hyperactivity and memory problems
- Poor coordination or motor skill delays
- Difficulty with judgment or reasoning
- Learning disabilities