How safe is consuming alcohol during pregnancy?

alcohol during pregnancy effects

There are many women who wish to know if it’s safe to drink alcohol during pregnancy. The advice they may receive from different individuals could be far more confusing. There are doctors who recommend avoiding intake of alcohol to women who are pregnant, while there are some who would say that light occasional light intake might not harm the baby at all. The same trend might be visible among the friends and family members.

However, the fact is that, many research studies have concluded that high consumption of alcohol during pregnancy leads to birth defects. But the impact of little consumption of alcohol is still not clear. Irrespective of the fact that it is risky or not most pregnant women avoid taking alcohol in pregnancy. Moreover, adding a bit of wine or vodka in different recipes while cooking with alcohol does not cause any damage to the baby. This is because most of the alcohol gets burnt during the cooking process.

Why is it recommended to avoid alcohol during the early months of pregnancy?

alcohol during pregnancy effects

It is always recommended by the doctors to avoid drinking alcohol during the 1st trimester as it is a situation which has the highest chances of leading to birth defects. Neutral tube which is responsible for formation of brain and the spinal cord along with the digestive system, heart, sensory organs, skeletal system, and the circulatory system start developing in these months. Thus, it would be highly recommended to avoid consuming alcohol especially in the early months of pregnancy.

Is it common among pregnant mothers to use alcohol during pregnancy?

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is one of the major health problems globally. It has been pretty evident and has always received a media attention. Although it is mostly recommended to avoid alcohol consumption, it is seen that about 15% of the pregnant women consume alcohol during pregnancy. There have been various reasons for such behavior where poverty and illiteracy has been the common reason for centuries. Addiction is also a major reason which has been the reason for such high number of consumers among pregnant women.

Will consuming alcohol reduce the chance of getting pregnant?

Research has shown that consumption of alcohol leads to several imbalances in female hormones which may control reproduction. It further may prove damaging to the fertility and hence reduce the chances of conceiving. However, there has been no study which indicates that drinking can prevent pregnancy.

Impact of alcohol on home pregnancy tests

HPT or Home pregnancy tests are usually based on Human Chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) hormone levels of the urine. So, consumption of alcohol would not affect the HPT as it would not interfere in the production functions of the hormone.

Effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Being a toxin, alcohol always reaches the baby through placenta through the bloodstream. There have been instances where heavy or even regular drinking of alcohol has resulted in miscarriage or premature birth. In case the consumption is too high it may even lead to a situation of the baby being stillborn. There are two kinds of impact which alcohol during pregnancy could lead to:


  1. Drinking too much could damage the cells of the developing baby. This usually results in the growth and development of the face, organs as well as the brain of the baby.
  2. Heavy alcohol consumption could even lead to damage of the baby’s nervous system. This situation is commonly called as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The impacts may be difficulties to learn or other birth defects.
  3. The extreme scenario among the effects of alcohol during pregnancy could lead to Fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies who get affected due to this often tend to be born with facial defects. This impact may even result in difficulty to learn, coordinate, weaker muscle tone, and related behavioral problems.
  4. Other effects include growth retardation, organ effects to the kidney or heart, below average growth in height and weight while growing up, etc.

FAS are a very rare case which is negligible when the affected number of children is added. However, FASD is a very common case where the present estimates suggest that it affects more than 6,600 babies each year across UK.

alcohol during pregnancy effects


There are several mental impacts of alcohol consumption to the babies. Some of the common effects include:

  • Cognition problems
  • Difficulty to coordinate
  • Language problems and difficulty to learn
  • Poor social skills
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism

Can Alcohol consumption during pregnancy result in permanent damage?

Effects of alcohol are largely serious which is certainly not temporary by any means. They are prone to lead to both physical and emotional damage which could be for a lifetime. Expenses are the other big impact which would definitely increase towards treatments. FAS is said to be a pretty large price which mothers may pay for just a few drinks they have while being pregnant. So if someone is pregnant or is planning for a child, it would be a wise idea to stop drinking immediately.

What are the alternates of alcohol for pregnancy?

It is usually great if sickness or nausea puts a pregnant woman off in the early stages of pregnancy. However, if a woman is prone to consume alcohol to unwind herself they it might be very hard to give up alcohol. An alternative for this could be resolving to stress-easing pleasures, which could be:

  • Listening to soft music
  • Undergoing beauty treatments
  • Having a warm bath
  • Exercising
  • Reading

To substitute the habit of drinking one may try consuming non-alcoholic beer with their evening meals. The husband plays a vital role as well to help a pregnant woman avoid alcohol while being pregnant.


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