Advertisement

Can I drink alcohol during pregnancy?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

To avoid all risk of alcohol-related problems, it is best to avoid alcoholic drinks altogether during pregnancy. Miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, and low birth weight are all linked to alcohol use during pregnancy. However, if you had a drink or two before you found out you were pregnant, there isn't much cause for concern. See your doctor if you have questions.

There is no known safe level of alcohol that you can consume during your pregnancy. Heavy alcohol consumption can cause severe defects in the brain and body development of your baby, known as fetal alcohol syndrome. Even moderate drinking is associated with the delayed growth of the baby and causing spontaneous abortion or low birth-weight babies. The Surgeon General warns pregnant women to avoid alcohol completely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that there is no safe time to drink during pregnancy. In the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy), drinking alcohol can cause abnormal facial features. Because the baby's brain is developing throughout the entire pregnancy, alcohol can cause developmental problems at any point in pregnancy. Women who are trying to get pregnant should avoid alcohol and those who become pregnant should stop drinking alcohol as soon as possible. It is never too late to stop.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Drinking alcohol can be harmful during pregnancy. Watch this video to learn how drinking alcohol can affect your baby.

Once a woman becomes pregnant, she needs to stop consuming alcohol. There is no known safe level of alcohol in pregnancy. The use of alcohol in pregnancy can be associated with an increased risk for birth defects, decreased growth of the baby as well as learning and behavioral problems.
Drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy is not recommended. The use of alcohol has been associated with fetal alcohol syndrome, which results in babies who are abnormally small and tend to have some mental retardation and behavioral problems.

Continue Learning about Food Safety & Pregnancy

What foods should I eat during pregnancy?
Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Moms-to-be should eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all of the recommended foods groups....
More Answers
Who should be careful eating foods that are high in fatty acids?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Children and pregnant women are advised by the United States Food and Drug Administration to avoid g...
More Answers
What specific foods should I avoid if I am pregnant?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Certain foods should be avoided during pregnancy because they contain substances or microorganisms t...
More Answers
What You Should—and Shouldn't—Eat When You're Pregnant
What You Should—and Shouldn't—Eat When You're PregnantWhat You Should—and Shouldn't—Eat When You're PregnantWhat You Should—and Shouldn't—Eat When You're PregnantWhat You Should—and Shouldn't—Eat When You're Pregnant
Which foods are nutritional powerhouses for pregnant women—and which ones are downright dangerous.
Start Slideshow

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.