Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Pregnancy and Alcohol
Name:  Mary
Status:  student
Age:  20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

How is alcohol metabolised during pregnancy?

To my knowledge It is metabolized as in other stages of a woman's life it is broken down largely in the liver by alcohol dehydrogenase and fed into intermediary metabolism as a two carbon group source of energy much like the break-down products of sugars. The danger is that some alcohol is certain to spill over into the bloodstream and make its way to across the placenta...if too much alcohol is taken by the mother for it to be quickly and fully metabolized by the mothers liver then the fetus is exposed to the deleterious effects of ethanol.


The research at this writing is clear. We do not know what effect the alcohol has on the fetus or embryo. How the developing organism is effected chemically is a total mystery. Many doctors recommend not to have any alcohol, especailly in the earlier stages. Other doctors claim that small amounts is not going to have an effect. In reality, no one knows!

Steve Sample

Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory