Pregnancy and drinking is not a good mix. Drinking alcohol, even in low doses, while pregnant could affect your unborn baby.
Drinking alcohol – even in small doses – could affect your baby’s development and increases the risk that your baby may have a range of lifelong problems like fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Between 600 and 3000 children are born with FASD every year - the term used to describe the range of effects that can occur from alcohol exposure during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.
No alcohol during pregnancy is the safest choice for your baby. Talk to your midwife, obstetrician or health professional for more advice or get in touch.
Our safer pregnancy campaign
Drinking during pregnancy is a serious issue. Almost 10% of women who stop drinking during their first trimester return to drinking alcohol again in their second and third trimesters. But alcohol affects your baby’s brain development at every stage of your pregnancy. Drinking and pregnancy don’t mix. Our new campaign takes a playful approach to this vital issue. We’d love your feedback. For more info, talk to your health professional or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more? Check out these resources from the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) or talk to your health professional.
We’ve all heard people argue that a glass of bubbles on New Year’s Eve or a cheeky beer in the sun won’t hurt your baby. But the truth is: there is no level of drinking alcohol that can be guaranteed to be completely ‘safe’ or ‘no risk’ or a ‘safe time’ to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
It’s ok to drink alcohol after your first trimester.
Alcohol can harm a baby at any time during pregnancy and can affect different parts of your child’s brain development at different stages of the pregnancy. Everything you eat and drink while you’re pregnant affects your baby. If you drink alcohol, it can cause problems in how your child grows, learns, looks and acts.
One or two drinks a week is OK and some drinks are better than others.
No level of alcohol exposure and no type of alcohol has been established as ‘safe’ or 'no risk’ for the developing fetus. The more alcohol and the more frequently a pregnant woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy the higher the risk of FASD.
The placenta filters out any harmful substances.
Alcohol crosses the placenta. The baby is exposed to the same blood level of alcohol as the mother. Because the liver is not fully formed the fetus cannot process the alcohol and may have the same blood alcohol content or higher than the mother and it remains at that level longer.
Only women who are alcoholics or have drinking problems have babies with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
Any exposure to alcohol could cause damage to your developing baby. Mothers don’t want to harm their babies. Over 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. Many women are 2-3 months pregnant before they know, and may drink alcohol when they’re not aware they’re pregnant. If you’re trying to get pregnant, avoid alcohol.
Your baby will outgrow any problems caused by drinking during pregnancy.
The damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure is permanent and lasts a lifetime, though it can be effectively managed with the right support. If your child has FASD, it’s important to get help as early as possible. Contact your local Fetal Alcohol Network for support and information.
Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding will help with let down and milk production.
Alcohol does not increase milk production, and has been shown to inhibit let-down and decrease milk production.