I’m pregnant, can I drink alcohol? No.
Congratulations! Its great news that you’re pregnant and expecting your little bundle of joy. We know this can be such an exciting time, but you may be feeling a little nervous and anxious about what to expect. You may also be somewhat confused about the “do’s and dont’s” now that you’re pregnant.
It may be difficult to know what to eat and drink, and how much exercise you can do when you find out you’re pregnant. You might be getting conflicting advice and you may be left wondering how to make sense of what’s best for you. It’s hard to make the best decision for the health of your baby when there are so many mixed messages floating around. At times, you might even get conflicting advice about how much alcohol you can drink when pregnant. Rest assured, NOFASD Australia has sifted through all the information for you so you have the facts when it comes to alcohol and pregnancy.
Q: Does the placenta protect the baby from alcohol?
Alcohol is a teratogen. This means that alcohol crosses the placenta and can enter the baby’s bloodstream. The baby can be harmed by the alcohol in its body.
Q: Can I drink alcohol while pregnant?
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines state: “To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol.”
Q: Can I have one glass of wine while pregnant?
Research has found that even small amounts of alcohol can harm your baby, so guidelines indicate that the safest option is not to consume any alcohol during pregnancy. Any type and any amount of alcohol can cause harm.
Q: Is there any safe time to drink alcohol while pregnant?
Research has shown that it is unsafe to drink alcohol at all stages and in all trimesters of pregnancy. This includes the early weeks before a couple are aware they have conceived, so it is important to not drink while trying to get pregnant as well.
Q: What can happen if I drink alcohol while pregnant?
A: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to some or all of the following:
- Low birth weight
- Heart and limb defects
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – a lifelong disability which can include:
- Neurological (brain) damage
- Problems with thinking, decision making and memory
- Poor motor control/coordination
- Poor ability to control emotions
- Intellectual and learning difficulties
- Speech and language delays
- Behavioural issues
Q: Is it true that when I drink a glass of alcohol, my baby drinks a glass of alcohol too?
Alcohol is concentrated in the blood, which passes from mother to baby through the placenta. The baby’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level can be the same as, or even higher, than the mothers. For research in relation to this topic, click here.
Q: How do I stop drinking alcohol when I’m pregnant?
A: There is support available if you need help to stop drinking alcohol. Hello Sunday Morning has an app to help you change your relationship with alcohol and Sober in the Country offers crucial support for those in regional and rural areas. NOFASD Australia recommends speaking to your GP to gain health and medical advice when reducing or stopping alcohol consumption. A counsellor or psychologist may also be able to assist. View our list of support services for more.
Q: How can I say no to alcohol when I’m pregnant?
A: NOFASD Australia put together some resources to help you to say no to alcohol when pregnant, including our alcohol-free celebrations blog and our saying no to alcohol blog. For support on how to stay alcohol-free during pregnancy, try speaking to your GP, health professional, or counsellor. It may also be helpful to speak to your partner, friends and family.
Being pregnant is such an exciting time, and its normal to feel confused about the different health messages that you hear. Staying alcohol-free is really important for the health of your baby, giving them the best chance at a healthy, happy life.
For more NOFASD Australia blogs, click here.