Know… about conception and pregnancy

Studies have shown that alcohol can reduce the chance of becoming pregnant. Even women who have five or less drinks a week may be less likely to become pregnant. The best advice for couples trying to conceive is to avoid alcohol completely as it can affect the quality of the egg and sperm before conception.

Although drinking large amounts of alcohol over a period of time can result in irregular periods or stop them altogether, you could still get pregnant.

The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline is that:

  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.
  • Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect:

  • the way the baby develops in the womb;
  • the baby’s health at birth;
  • the baby’s susceptibility to illness in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adult life;
  • the child’s ability to learn.

Drinking heavily before and during pregnancy can increase your risk of early miscarriage.

Government guidelines recommend that pregnant women should avoid drinking alcohol.

These guidelines also apply to women who are breastfeeding. For more information visit www.breastfedbabies.org