Alcohol can pass directly to the fetus through the umbilical cord and heavy consumption has been linked with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders which cause physical, learning and behavioural problems in babies and children. A 2021 study found that a womans risk of miscarriage increased every week they drank low levels of alcohol. The time to try and completely avoid alcohol is the first trimester where the baby’s brain, spinal cord and nervous system is developing at an incredible rate. Dont panic if you drank before you found out you were pregnant. There are many babies born where the mother did not realise she was pregnant and drank alcohol for the first several weeks and reported no issues. It’s just better to be stay on the side of caution when you know.
If you do feel that completely abstaining from alcohol will be too difficult for the pregnancy then try to avoid alcohol in the 1st trimester and then limit as much as possible in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. The NHS guidelines recommend if you are pregnant you should avoid alcohol. If you choose to drink, the NHS recommends that you drink only once, or at most twice, a week and have no more than one or two units each time.
A guideline to Units:
- Alcopop – 1.5
- 125ml glass of wine – 1.5 175ml glass of wine – 2.1
- 330ml Bottle of 5% lager, beer or cider – 1.7
- Single shot of spirits 25ml – 1