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Effects of Alcohol during Pregnancy - Can you drink when Pregnant?

Updated on February 3, 2012


It is recommended by the department of Health that you do not drink whilst you are pregnant, there are no benefits to doing so. Drinking should also be avoided if trying for a baby as many people do not realise they are pregnant during the first couple of weeks.

If you chose to drink, please try to avoid it especially during the first three months as this increases the risk of miscarriage. After this minimise your consumption and drink no more than 1-2 units once or twice a week. You should not get drunk and do NOT binge drink (more than 6 units) as this can seriously affect your child

A Unit of Alcohol

A unit of alcohol is just a 25ml measure of spirit, half a beer or half a glass of wine. However this is varies by alcohol type and percentage and if you are at all unsure air on the side of caution.

Facts about Alcohol

Alcohol is a teratogen. which are known to be harmful to Human development

Alcohol crosses the placenta to your baby. When you drink alcohol, it easily passes through the placenta meaning that alcohol accumulates in your babies blood stream also. your babies size means that the alcohol breaks down much more slowly, which means the alcohol in the babies blood is there for longer than it is in yours. This can cause severe problems during pregnancy and cause problems with your babies development.

How can Alcohol affect my baby

You can damage your developing baby by drinking alcohol while pregnant. It can cause damage and affect the growth of the baby’s cells especially the cells of the spinal cord and the brain.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is the condition which can be caused if you drink during pregnancy. The problems range in severity andl can cause a child to have physical or mental problems that can last all of his or her life.

The effects include:

  • behavioural and learning problems.
  • Unmistakable facial features some of which include an overly small head, narrow openings of the eye all of this becomes more obvious as the child gets older.
  • Problems bonding or feeding as a newborn.
  • Growth problems, including stunted growth.
  • Birth defects.

Heavy alcohol use during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or a baby being born early.

For a more scientific and detailed look at the effects, please take a look at either of the links to the right.

For other Foods to avoid during Pregnancy please check out pregnancy - what to eat?


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    • dipless profile image

      dipless 6 years ago from Manchester

      @justateacher Thank you for your comment and my personal view is exactly the same as yours I would strongly Urge people not to drink whilst pregnant, but I am trying to remain impartial and only convey what the latest research suggests.

      @ Alexander Please Thank you for your comment, glad you liked it as I said above I too wouldn't recommend women drink. I agree that reducing temptation is a good thing and those who are susceptible to binge drinking should certainly abstain to prevent drinking too much.

    • Alexander Pease profile image

      Alexander Pease 6 years ago from Maine

      I liked reading this hub, even though the subject is less than appealing to many. I wouldn't recommend that women drink alcohol at all, but for a different reason that justateacher.

      I think that if a woman in naturally inclined to drinking heavily, then the drink should be avoided altogether during pregnancy. My opinion is that it would reduce the temptation of binge drinking.

      Ah, but this is your hub, and a good one at that. Thanks for writing it!

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      ANY drinking during pregnancy can/does cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome...there is no safe amount and no safe time during a special education teacher who is right now working with a little peanut with FAS, I would STRONGLY urge women who are pregnant to completely abstain from alcohol...


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