Drinking during pregnancy or while trying to conceive is a tricky topic. Not all doctors agree on the effects of alcohol during this time. Clearly, we arent talking about binge drinking any amount of excessive drinking is just plain bad for you, no matter your state of motherhood. However, things get a bit murkier when youre talking about a glass of wine or a beer on occasion. Some people will say go for it, others would rather not see it happen.
Learn When Its Safe
For some people, drinking is cultural. Wine drinking is a large part of the culture in France, for example. Many people there continue to drink the occasional glass of wine throughout pregnancy. We havent seen a huge health impact from that practice, but again its cultural.
The thinking behind the idea that its OK to have a few glasses of wine a week while pregnant or trying isnt based in science.
Typically, its considered safe to drink moderately during the first half of your cycle before ovulation if you have a regular cycle. This is because you cant get pregnant during that time, and it pretty much means that you can drink for half a month, every month. But this is only true if you have a completely normal cycle, which is rarer than you might think. Women without regular cycles may have a more difficult time finding their safe time to drink.
There are some doctors who will tell you that a drink here and there is no big deal, and for many moms or moms-to-be, theyre right. A glass here or there is not likely to impact on your baby, especially if there isnt a bun in the oven yet, so to speak. The problem is that this doesnt hold true for 100% of people.
Recognize the Dangers
Were all aware of the dangers of drinking while actually pregnant. But if youre trying to conceive, you still take some risks if you decide to drink.
One thing to consider is that you wont know when you actually become pregnant, so youre likely to accidentally have a few drinks during your first trimester. This accidental drinking is an enormous factor because it can lead to long-term problems such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) or miscarriage depending on frequency, amount and prior habits.
Studies found that the rate of miscarriage increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. In one particular study, women who had four or more drinks each week were more likely to experience a miscarriage.
In addition to accidentally drinking too much before you realize youre pregnant, theres the added problem of trying to abruptly change your habits. Tapering off ahead of time can make the transition to complete sobriety easier.
What About the Mister?
Yes, its safer for the woman to avoid alcohol during conception, but men should as well, since alcohol also affects sperm. It can cause lower quality sperm and lower testosterone, but did you know it actually makes sperm intoxicated? They dont swim as well and may have trouble reaching the egg. This means that drinking will actually make it more difficult for you to get pregnant in the first place.
Play It Safe
If youre thinking about having a child, its best to avoid drinking. Doctors are still unsure as to what constitutes a safe level of fetal exposure to alcohol, and until that level is established (assuming there is one), its better to be safe than sorry.