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Drinking and pregnancy

Before pregnancy

The best advice for couples trying to conceive is to avoid alcohol. It can affect both males and females trying to conceive. Experts are not sure exactly how much alcohol is safe so it is better to avoid it.

During pregnancy

Drinking during pregnancy can affect how your baby develops in the womb. It has been known for quite a few years that various issues are associated with drinking during pregnancy.
When you drink, the alcohol passes from your blood through the placenta and into your baby’s body. A baby’s liver is still developing right until the last stages of pregnancy. Exposure to alcohol can seriously affect their development.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases your chance of miscarriage and having a premature birth. The effects of drinking during pregnancy might not happen straight away and cause issues with how your child learns. It can even lead to behavioural issues.
Drinking heavily throughout pregnancy can cause your baby to develop a serious condition called foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
Children with FAS have:

  • Poor growth
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Learning and behavioural problems

After pregnancy

When you are caring for a new born, it’s advised to keep your alcohol intake to low levels. If you are breast feeding, your baby will be consuming alcohol traced in your milk. Their liver is not able to process the alcohol and can cause health problems for your baby.
If you are not breastfeeding, it is still advised not to drink too much when your baby is small.

Support to give up alcohol during pregnancy?

If you need support giving up alcohol, we have local services that can help you. Contact Healthy Sandwell and they will be able to advise what is on offer in your local area.
If you have any worries around your drinking and your pregnancy, you can also speak to your midwife or doctor.

Alcohol Unit and Calorie Counter

Tell us how many drinks you have in an average week:

Pint of beer
Bottle of beer
Pint of cider
Glass of wine
Single spirit

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