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We know that alcohol can cause widespread harm across all levels of society, including injuries due to falls, burns, and car crashes; medical conditions such as liver and coronary heart disease, and many types of cancer; anti-social behaviour, and fights and violence.

The FASD Hub Australia is focussed on how alcohol use during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus.

Information in the tables below are from the National Drug Strategy Household surveys conducted in 2013, 2016 and 2019. 

Females drinking weekly

2016

2019

31% 29%
 
  • Females 14 - 29 years: 28% drank on a Saturday, consuming 4.3 standard drinks on average 
  • Females 30 - 49 years: 26% drank on a Saturday, consuming 3.4 standard drinks on average

 Pregnant women abstaining from alcohol

2007

2013

2016

2019

40% 53% 56% 63%

Breastfeeding women abstaining from alcohol

2007

2019

25% 49%


Before they knew they were pregnant/after they knew they were pregnant

2013

 

2016

 

2019

 
Before After Before After Before After
56% 25% 49% 25% 55% 14.5%

 Of those women who consumed any alcohol while pregnant

2013

2016

2019

  • 78% drank monthly or less
  • 96% usually consumed 1-2 standard drinks on a typical day they drank
  • 1.4% had consumed 6 or more standard drinks on at least one occasion
  • 81% drank monthly or less
  • 16.2% drank 2-4 times a month
  • 97% usually consumed 1-2 standard drinks on a typical day they drank
  • 96% usually consumed 1–2 standard drinks on a typical day they drank
  • 90% drank monthly or less 

References

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013 

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 

 

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol

It is important that everyone is aware of the advice in the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol, which says that:

  • To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol.
  • For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.

It is also important that health professionals pass on this message, and the community understands the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the effects it can have on the developing fetus.

No level of maternal alcohol consumption at any time during pregnancy can be guaranteed to be completely ‘safe’ or ‘no risk’ for the developing fetus.

Read more in the Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol 2020 (Guideline 3)

Page last updated 3 December 2020