How much alcohol is safe to drink whilst pregnant?

Alcohol in Pregnancy Window to the Womb

How much alcohol is safe to drink whilst pregnant?

If you are planning a pregnancy, already pregnant or breastfeeding your baby, not drinking alcohol is the safest option as it can harm your unborn baby.

Both bingeing at the weekend and drinking steadily every day is harmful to your baby. There has been no research that shows an occasional drink will have little effect on your baby. In fact, experts say that there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.

What effect does alcohol have on an unborn baby?

Alcohol can affect the development of the baby’s brain, spinal cord and other organs as alcohol passes from your blood, through the placenta and to your baby. Too much alcohol also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Drinking heavily throughout pregnancy can cause your baby to develop a serious condition called Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Children that suffer with this syndrome can have learning and behavioural disorders, restricted growth, facial abnormalities and heart defects.

What if I drank alcohol before knowing I was pregnant?

It’s possible that you drank alcohol in the first couple of weeks of your pregnancy when you weren’t aware that you were pregnant. It probably is okay, but speak with your midwife or GP if you’re worried. They will probably reassure you that the risk to your baby is small if you weren’t a heavy drinker, but once you know you’re pregnant, it’s best to stop.

Staying in Control

Here are 3 ways to keep your drinking under control if you’re trying to have a baby or are already pregnant:

  • Stand Strong

    If you’re out with friends or colleagues, you may feel under pressure to drink, especially if you haven’t told anyone about your pregnancy yet. Remember, you can always tell them you’re driving or trying to be healthy!

  • Make The Switch

    There are always alcohol-free alternatives – give ‘Mocktails’ a try! You might surprise yourself!

  • Get Support

    Ask your other half to help you by getting them to watch their drinking too. If you are trying to get pregnant, drinking alcohol can affect sperm count so it’s important the men take this seriously too!

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