Follow us

If you’re pregnant, you’ll need to think carefully about what is safe to eat and drink, and what medicines you can take. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can be harmful to your unborn baby.

C1WBAN Smiling couple expecting a baby drinking and sitting on the floor

How much alcohol is safe to drink when pregnant?

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

How much you drink matters. The more you drink, the more likely it is that the baby will suffer some harm. It doesn’t matter whether you drink steadily every day, or have a binge on the weekend. Both are harmful.

There is no research that shows an occasional drink will do little harm. Experts say that there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.

So not drinking at all while you’re pregnant is the safest option.

What effects does alcohol have on an unborn baby?

When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and to your unborn baby. It can effect the development of the baby’s brain, spinal cord and other organs.

The first trimester is the time when the baby’s organs are developing most quickly, so that is the time of highest risk. Babies born affected by alcohol are described as having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD. Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of these disorders.

Too much alcohol also increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

What should I do if I drank alcohol before knowing I was pregnant?

It’s possible that you drank alcohol in the first few weeks of your pregnancy, when you didn’t know you were pregnant. That’s probably okay – the risk from low level drinking is likely to be low. But once you know you are pregnant, it’s safest to avoid drinking for the rest of your pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

What if I’m planning to become pregnant?

If you’re planning to become pregnant, it’s wise to stop drinking alcohol. That will give your baby the best chance.

Tips to avoid alcohol during pregnancy

It can be hard to avoid alcohol in social situations, particularly in the earlier stages when others might not know about your pregnancy. You might feel pressured to behave like you normally would, which may include drinking.

Pregnancy is a natural stage of life and shouldn’t stop you from socialising. But if you are in a situation where drinking is involved, a good alternative is to have a non-alcoholic drink you enjoy. You might also find it helpful to say:

  • No, thank you, I’m not drinking tonight.
  • No, thank you, I have to drive.
  • I have a big day/early meeting tomorrow so no thanks.
  • I’m not feeling the best so would rather not, thanks.

If you’re used to drinking at home, perhaps at the end of the day to relax, you might consider alternatives like taking a bath, going for a walk or reading a book.

Where to find support to give up alcohol

If you’re finding it hard to give up alcohol while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it might help to talk to your doctor, midwife or obstetrician for advice and treatment, and to friends and family for support.

You can also find resources here on our webpage.

Credit / Sources

This article is from Pregnancy: Birth & Baby, published on their website.

What is FASD? Check Out Our FASD Resource Directory Drinking & Pregnancy

Related News

Gabapentin Misuse: An Emerging Threat – By Jackie Franks, MPH, CHES, CPS  

What is Gabapentin?   Gabapentin is a prescription anticonvulsant medication approved by the
Read More

Identification Information Card for Individuals with FASD

This card can be printed and cut out, filled out, and laminated
Read More

Warning: “Blackout Wednesday” is Coming – Prepare yourself to celebrate safely this holiday season.

With the holidays right around the corner, we start to get excited
Read More

Reach out

We’d love to hear from you!

Please use this form to share your stories, ask questions, and build connections.

"*" indicates required fields