Is It OK to Drink Alcohol While Trying to Conceive?

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2021

Is it commonly known that alcohol is not conducive to a healthy pregnancy. However, what about when you are trying to conceive a baby? Will merely having some wine before your romantic night-in hamper your chances at procreation? Read along to discover the answer and more.

Why is it bad to drink alcohol while pregnant?

When getting pregnant is it safe to drink when trying to conceive? Alcohol a pregnant woman drinks goes directly into the bloodstream of the developing baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol is extremely harmful to your baby this way. It can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and many other lifelong disabilities. These disabilities are called FASDs or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Children with FASDS can be affected in the following ways:

  • Irregular facial features
  • Smaller than usual heads
  • Underweight bodies
  • Bad coordination
  • Erratic or hyperactive behavior
  • Issues paying attention
  • Bad memory
  • Poor school performance
  • Learning disabilities
  • Delayed learning of speech and language
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Ack of reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep issues as a baby
  • Vision and/or hearing difficulties
  • Heart, kidney, or bone issues

There is no cure for FASDs. Many of these conditions last a lifetime. However, it has been shown that the earlier they are treated, the better it is for the child. So if you suspect that your child might have an FASD or you drank an excessive amount of alcohol while pregnant, you should immediately report it to your doctor. That way, together, you can monitor your child and provide care at the earliest possible time.

Treatment services could include therapy to help your child walk, talk, and learn social skills. Additionally, there are medications and further treatment that can help your child manage the symptoms of FASDs.

Can I drink a little bit while I am trying to conceive?

People do drink during their pregnancies, but the CDC’s official stance is that no amount of alcohol is safe to consume during your pregnancy or while you try to conceive. At every stage of your pregnancy, alcohol presents significant risks to your child.

Is there any type of alcohol that is safe to drink while I try to get pregnant?

If you've attempted to conceive, you could be pregnant and not know it. There is no type of alcohol that is safe to drink while you are pregnant. This includes wine, beer, and mixed drinks. It does not matter how much alcohol or how strong the alcohol is.

Should men stop drinking if they are trying to conceive?

There is scientific evidence proving that the quality of sperm is seriously reduced if men regularly drink. Drinking reduces the chances of a man impregnating a woman.

There is also evidence that suggests that regular alcohol consumption by men can result in FASDs. Studies have shown women are more likely to cut down on their drinking while trying to conceive if their partners also cut down their drinking in support. For all these reasons, it is recommended that men also cut down on their drinking if they are trying to conceive.


Stages of Pregnancy: Week by Week See Slideshow

When should I stop drinking alcohol if I am trying to conceive?

You should stop drinking immediately when you are trying to conceive. Usually, you will not know if you are pregnant for up to 6 weeks, and there is literally no amount of alcohol that is safe to consume when you are pregnant. Therefore, you should stop drinking immediately if you want to get pregnant.

A child's facial developments especially can be damaged during the first three months of pregnancy due to alcohol consumption. Growth, the nervous system, and brain development can be impacted throughout pregnancy through drinking alcohol.

Even if you drank earlier in your pregnancy or drank without knowing you were pregnant, it is never too late to stop drinking. You do not know how or if your drinking has impacted your fetus. What is certain is that if you continue to drink, your fetus and pregnancy will be affected.

Can you drink while you’re trying to get pregnant?

You should stop drinking if you want to be pregnant. Although the image of a romantic evening including wine or some sort of delicious mixed drink might sound like a great way to set the mood, it is not worth it. No glass of wine or other alcohol is worth your child’s permanent wellbeing and happiness.

Suppose you accidentally drank at any time during your pregnancy. It is important you be honest with your healthcare providers and let them know immediately.

If you are pregnant and want to stop drinking but don’t know how, there are many ways you can seek help. Two excellent resources to begin this journey are The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) treatment locator or the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2021
BetterHealth Channel: "Alcohol and pregnancy."

CDC: "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders," "FASDs: Treatments," "Alcohol and Pregnancy Questions and Answers."