The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidance is that pregnant women should not drink any alcohol at all.

  • If you are pregnant or planning pregnancy, the safest option is not to drink alcohol.
  • This is to keep the risks to your baby to a minimum. The more you drink the greater the risk to your baby.

What if I’ve already drunk alcohol in pregnancy?

If you find out you’re pregnant after having drunk alcohol early in the pregnancy you should avoid drinking further. Official advice is that it is unlikely in most cases that the baby would be affected.

If you’re worried about how much you’ve been drinking when pregnant, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Staying in control

Here are three ways to keep your drinking under control if you’re trying to have a baby.

  1. Stand firm. If you’re out with friends or colleagues, you may be under pressure to drink, especially if you haven’t announced your pregnancy yet. Tell them you’re driving, on a health kick, or simply stick to soft drinks.
  2. Start slowly. If you are trying to conceive, try cutting down your units gradually. Start off by reducing your drinking each day, and then try having a few alcohol-free days a week.
  3. Get support. Ask your partner to help you by cutting down their drinking as well. If you are trying to conceive this is vital, as drinking impairs sperm count and heavy drinking can cause temporary impotence.

Mocktail Suggestions

Below are a few suggestions for alcohol free mocktails, great for that special occasion. To see more Mocktails check out this site with full listings.

*Remember to not over-do it on the sugar levels

Virgin Cucumber Mojito

Ingredients

Directions

Dissolve beverage mix into cold water in a pitcher; add cucumber slices and ice cubes.

Raspberry Fizzler

Ingredients

  • 3 scoops raspberry sherbet

Directions

In a blender, combine raspberry juice, raspberry sherbet and carbonated water. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Watermelon Fizz

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Blend coconut water, watermelon, and stevia together in a blender until smooth.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice; add watermelon mixture. Cover shaker and shake until chilled; pour into a tall glass.

Further information

Your GP can help you figure out if you should make any changes to your drinking, and offer help and advice along the way. Or talk to your midwife about alcohol and pregnancy.

Give your baby the best start possible

Pregnancy is a turning point in life, a time for new beginnings. A healthy start is important – for you and your baby. Choose not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy

Frequently asked questions:

 

What might happen if I drink alcohol when I am pregnant?

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent birth defects and brain damage to your baby. To help your baby be as healthy as possible, stop drinking alcohol.

Is there a safe time to drink alcohol?

There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Your baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy. The safest choice during pregnancy is no alcohol at all. In fact, it is best to stop drinking before you get pregnant.

What if I had a couple of drinks before I knew I was pregnant?

Many pregnancies are not planned. Having a small amount of alcohol before you knew you were pregnant is not likely to harm your baby. You can help your baby by stopping drinking.

Is it OK to have a few drinks at a special event?

It is best not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy. There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.

Are some types of alcohol less harmful?

Any type of alcohol can harm your baby (beer, coolers, wine or spirits). Binge drinking and heavy drinking are very harmful to an unborn baby.

FASD

What is FASD?

FASD or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a term that describes the full range of harm that is caused by alcohol use in pregnancy. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, her baby may have:

-brain damage
-vision and hearing difficulties
-bones, limbs, and fingers that are not properly formed
-heart, kidney, liver and other organ damage
-slow growth

Brain damage means that a child may have serious difficulties with:

-learning
-remembering
-thinking things through
-getting along with others

Do children with FASD grow out of their problems?

There are many things teachers and parents can do to help children with FASD. However, FASD is a lifelong problem. Teens or adults with FASD may have:

-depression
-trouble with the law
-drug or alcohol problems
-difficulty living on their own
-trouble keeping a job
What if the father drinks alcohol?

If the father drinks alcohol, it will not cause FASD. However, fathers should also try to be as healthy as possible before and during pregnancy.

How can others help?

Partners, family, and friends can help pregnant women to stop drinking by being supportive and encouraging.

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