21 Sep Can I drink wine while pregnant?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) writes, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time for alcohol use during pregnancy. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.”
As healthcare professionals and prenatal dietitians, we recommend you do not drink alcohol while pregnant.
What are the risks if I drink alcohol while I am pregnant?
- Impact on Fetal Development: Alcohol is recognized as harmful to a developing fetus, as it can traverse the placenta, reaching the baby and potentially impeding its growth and development. This exposure can result in a spectrum of physical, behavioral, and cognitive impairments.
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD): Prenatal exposure to alcohol can lead to a group of conditions known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. These disorders encompass a range of disabilities, from mild to severe, including intellectual, behavioral, and physical challenges.
- Risks Throughout Pregnancy: The risk of harm exists at all stages of pregnancy, including before an individual is aware of being pregnant. This underscores the importance of not drinking alcohol at all if you’re planning a pregnancy or there’s any possibility of being pregnant.
Guidelines for a Healthy Pregnancy:
- Total Abstinence: To ensure the optimal start for your baby, healthcare experts are unanimous: abstain from alcohol throughout your pregnancy.
- Preconception Planning: If pregnancy is on your horizon or you’re actively trying to conceive, it’s wise to discontinue alcohol consumption. This precautionary measure eliminates potential risks to the developing baby, especially during the critical early stages of fetal development.
- Seek Support: Engaging with peers or support groups can provide invaluable encouragement. Sharing experiences, addressing concerns, and exchanging strategies for a healthy pregnancy can give you the support you need to abstain from alcohol.
- Alternative Choices: While wine and alcohol may be off-limits during pregnancy, there are numerous non-alcoholic alternatives to enjoy. Savoring sparkling water infused with a touch of fruit juice or relishing a virgin mocktail can provide a sense of indulgence without the risks linked to alcohol.
- Seek Guidance from Healthcare Professionals: Maintaining an open dialogue with your healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy is essential. Share any questions, apprehensions, or prior alcohol consumption with them so they can provide tailored guidance for your unique circumstances.
- Alcohol-Free Environment: If you’re concerned about the presence of alcohol at home, consider removing alcoholic beverages from your living space during pregnancy.
- Social Situations: In social gatherings, it’s perfectly acceptable to decline alcoholic drinks and instead opt for non-alcoholic options. Friends and family will likely support your decision to prioritize your baby’s health.
The safest course of action for a healthy pregnancy is to abstain from alcohol entirely. The potential risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy, even in moderation, outweigh any perceived benefits. By making this choice, you’re taking a crucial step to ensure the best possible start for your baby’s development and well-being. Work with your primary caregiver, midwife, ObGyn, and/or prenatal dietitian for personalized guidance and reassurance.
Here is one of our favorite mocktails — fizzy and packed with vitamins.