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Alcohol and Pregnancy: Is it Safe to Drink?

During pregnancy is it safe to drink alcohol? This blog explores what research says about the safety of the mother and baby with drinking alcohol.

Alcohol and pregnancy are not often discussed in the same breath. But it’s a very important topic that every pregnant Mama needs to be familiar with in order to ensure the safe and healthy development of her baby.

As a medical professional, I will always caution women NOT to consume any alcohol at all during pregnancy. This is because there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption at this time. So there is a very real risk that babies who are exposed to alcohol in-utero could suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). 

Why can’t I drink alcohol during pregnancy?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy not only has the potential to cause your baby to develop a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, but research also shows us that it increases the risk of the following:

  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Pre-term birth
  • Slowed growth in-utero and low birth weight.
  • Birth defects 
  • Developmental delays 

In short, drinking alcohol during pregnancy simply isn’t worth the risk.

Can I drink alcohol during pregnancy? 

Is a small drink ok?

Many women have the impression that it is safe to enjoy the occasional drink during pregnancy. But the reality is, we just do not know how this might affect our babies. The research in this space is very limited. We do not know how and when it might affect our precious babies, and as I’m sure you can understand, it would be unethical to recruit women to take part in such a study.

The safest option is to enjoy non-alcoholic beverages until your baby is earth-side. Once baby is born, you’re able to relax again. Even with breastfeeding, there are ways to drink safely. Check out my blog on this very topic (link). 

I drank alcohol during pregnancy – is my baby going to be ok?

This is something that unfortunately happens to some mamas and babies. Pregnancy isn’t always planned, and we might not always be aware that there’s a chance we could be pregnant.

That being said, if you did accidentally drink alcohol in early pregnancy before you found out you were pregnant, it’s important not to stress yourself out too much as stress also isn’t great for your pregnancy. It’s definitely worth mentioning to your midwife or Dr, especially if it may alleviate any stress for you. While there is no safe time to drink during pregnancy, if you hadn’t yet missed your period, then it it’s likely that implantation was yet to take place and the risk of the alcohol affecting your baby was very low. It’s really important once you know you are pregnant that you completely stop alcohol consumption.

Can I drink alcohol while trying to conceive (TTC)?

If you have decided to start trying for a baby, then it’s advised that you should abstain from alcohol. Acting like you are already pregnant. There isn’t a lot of data around this, but the best approach is the safest approach! Some studies also suggest that alcohol consumption while TTC may even decrease your chances of conceiving. So that’s worth keeping in mind too!

As for whether your partner should stop drinking while trying to conceive. We know that excess alcohol lowers the level of the testosterone hormone in men, and can actually decrease sperm quality and quantity. So, it’s a good idea to stop, as it may increase your chances of successfully conceiving together. Making a baby is a team effort!

What if I’m struggling to give up alcohol?

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive and need support with your drinking, then there is always help available. You are not alone, Mama. The best point of call is usually your GP, Midwife or Obstetrician first as they know and understand your personal medical history and likely have a good understanding of local support networks that are available. Here in Australia, I recommend checking out:  and for more information. 

Pregnant Mamas make sure you check out our FREE Prenatal class that 8 out of 10 new mothers say they wish they took before birth to ease their stress and worries. You can even watch it at your own pace from the comforts of your own home. Sign up here!

It’s important to note that alcohol consumption should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure safety and suitability for individual circumstances. This blog is general education only. For any personal based advice regarding you or your baby please seek advice from your own healthcare professional.

  1. Addila, A. E., Azale, T., Gete, Y. K., & Yitayal, M. (2021). The effects of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy on adverse fetal outcomes among pregnant women attending antenatal care at public health facilities in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia: a prospective cohort study. Substance Abuse Treatment Prevention and Policy, 16(1).
  2. Alcohol use during pregnancy. (2022, November 4). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. DeJong, K. N., Olyaei, A., & Lo, J. O. (2019). Alcohol use in pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 62(1), 142–155.
  4. Flak, A. L., Su, S., Bertrand, J., Denny, C. H., Kesmodel, U. S., & Cogswell, M. E. (2013). The Association of mild, Moderate, and binge prenatal alcohol exposure and Child Neuropsychological Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(1), 214–226.
  5. Lees, B., Mewton, L., Jacobus, J., Valadez, E. A., Stapinski, L., Teesson, M., Tapert, S. F., & Squeglia, L. M. (2020). Association of prenatal alcohol exposure with psychological, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 177(11), 1060–1072.
  6. Scott, S. M., & Sher, J. P. (2023). Effect of alcohol during pregnancy: a public health issue. The Lancet. Public Health, 8(1), e4–e5.