Alcohol’s Role In Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Alcohol’s Role In Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Before diving into the baby-making adventure, let's talk about a crucial aspect often overlooked: alcohol. We all love a good drink now and then, but when it comes to planning for a baby, it's time to hit the pause button on those boozy nights because no amount of alcohol is considered safe at any stage of pregnancy. 

First things first, excessive alcohol can mess with your body's hormones, throwing off your menstrual cycle and ovulation, making it trickier to conceive. A study by Lee et al. (2020) discovered that drinking alcohol (5% ethanol) two weeks before getting pregnant led to fewer healthy baby embryos and caused problems with how the babies developed. This drinking also affected how the mothers' bodies handled sugar and led to fat buildup in the liver during pregnancy. 

But it doesn't stop there. Drinking during pregnancy can pose significant risks to both the baby and the mother. The most well-known risk is the potential for the baby to develop Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which encompass a range of developmental and behavioural issues.  

According to Merrick et al. (2006), these can have long-term effects on the child's health and well-being such as resulting in lasting and irreversible harm, impacting the individual's social and occupational prospects for life. This often necessitates ongoing support and assistance to enable them to function at their best. Additionally, alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. 

Moreover, the risks of drinking extend to breastfeeding as well. When a breastfeeding mother consumes alcohol, it passes into the breast milk and can affect the baby's sleep patterns, growth, and development. Excessive alcohol consumption while breastfeeding can also impair the mother's ability to care for her child safely. 

So, what's the takeaway? Before you start trying for a baby, it's time to rethink those happy hours. Pregnancy care is all about adopting a healthy lifestyle, which means saying no to excessive alcohol. It's not forever, just until you're ready to welcome a little bundle of joy into your lives. Remember, a little sacrifice now can lead to a lifetime of happiness with your future mini-me. 


Lee, Y.J., Kim, J.Y., Lee, D.Y. et al. Alcohol consumption before pregnancy causes detrimental fetal development and maternal metabolic disorders. Sci Rep 10, 10054 (2020). 

Merrick J, Merrick E, Morad M, Kandel I. Fetal alcohol syndrome and its long-term effects. Minerva Pediatr. 2006 Jun;58(3):211-8. PMID: 16832326.