Not drinking alcohol when planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding is the safest option.
During pregnancy, alcohol crosses the placenta and can affect your baby's development. This can result in:
- lower birth weight
- premature birth
- birth defects
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) which is a form of brain injury that causes a range of physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities.
Why should I avoid alcohol when planning a pregnancy?
Many women often become pregnant before they realise. Consumption of alcohol during this time can unknowingly risk harming your unborn baby. If you are trying to become pregnant, alcohol can reduce your fertility and greatly increase the time it takes to get pregnant.
Why should I avoid alcohol when breastfeeding?
Concentrations of blood alcohol and breastmilk are the same, meaning what you are drinking, your baby is drinking too.
Alcohol in breaskmilk:
- can stay there for several hours
- reduces the flow of your milk (this can unsettle your baby and cause them to eat and sleep less)
- affect how your baby's brain cord develops.
To give yourself the best chance of becoming pregnant and your baby the best start in life, avoid alcohol when planning a pregnancy, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.