Alcohol is one of the most dangerous teratogens, which are substances that can damage a developing fetus. Every time a pregnant woman has a drink, her unborn child has one, too. Alcohol, like carbon monoxide from cigarettes, passes easily through the placenta from the mother’s bloodstream into her baby’s blood and puts her fetus at risk of having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The blood alcohol level (BAC) of the fetus becomes equal to or greater than the blood alcohol level of the mother. Because the fetus cannot break down alcohol the way an adult can, its BAC remains high for a longer period of time.
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