If you are trying to have a baby, drinking, especially heavy drinking, can reduce your chances of getting pregnant and increase your chance of miscarriage. For men, drinking excessively can reduce libido and sperm count. During this time, it is best to stay within the recommended number of units and to speak to your GP or healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Drinking while pregnant will affect your baby because your systems are connected. Any alcohol in your blood will flow across the placenta and your baby will end up with the same Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) as you.
Unborn babies and their developing brain and central nervous system are particularly sensitive to alcohol. It can increase the risk of them being born with physical, mental or behavioural problems. Heavy drinking during pregnancy can also cause the baby to suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Find out how our NOFAS-UK charity is working with midwives to help teach pregnant women about the dangers of drinking.
Research has yet to establish a ‘safe’ amount to drink during pregnancy, so the safest thing to do is to avoid alcohol completely. If in doubt, always speak to your GP or healthcare professional for advice.
If you are breastfeeding, you should pay close attention to what you drink and when. If you drink just before or during a feed, you can pass the alcohol along to your baby which may cause them harm and affect their development. It takes your body approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol, so it is best to wait at least one hour after drinking each drink, or to avoid alcohol altogether. As always, if you have questions, please consult your GP healthcare provider.
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