Many women, and their fertility doctors, think that it’s ok to drinking while your trying to conceive (TTC). Of course it is safe, and may even help with relaxation and anxiety, not to mention “the mood” if you and your partner have been having baby-making intercourse for years now. And besides, win as antioxidants, and some studies show that alcohol may make you live longer – why not! Let’s look at the science behind alcohol and fertility. For now, the data regarding the effects of moderate alcohol intake on fertility is inconclusive at this time. The largest prospective studies conducted in Europe indicate that high levels of alcohol consumption are associated with greater difficulty conceiving. One small Danish study identified a slight delay in conception even with alcohol ingestion of 5 drinks or less per week. However, this research relies on self-reporting of alcohol consumption which may be inaccurate. In many cases, the studies do not fully account for other factors that could be affecting fertility.
When you are attempting to conceive, taking a moderate approach to alcohol consumption is the wisest course of action. If having an occasional beer or glass of wine once or twice a week is part of your normal lifestyle, this is unlikely to have a significant effect on your ability to conceive. Drinking every day or consuming several drinks at one sitting is behavior you should avoid. High levels of alcohol can negatively affect many aspects of your health and is probably not good for eggs or sperm development either. Do you have diabetes? A thyroid condition? Mystery symptoms that are “ok” but you really don’t know what’s going on with your body. For people with certain conditions or even seemingly random symptoms, it may be best to cut it out all together. Why not extend “dry January” to “dry 2017”? Your body, brain, hormones and anxiety and depression will thank you for it! Especially if you have been stressed out about trying to get pregnant and your health this year.
If you think you might be pregnant, it’s time to stop consuming alcohol. Fetal harm from exposure to alcohol in the womb can lead to lifelong health problems. In fact, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) caused by maternal alcohol consumption is the leading identifiable cause of neuro-developmental disorders and birth defects in babies. No “safe level” of prenatal alcohol exposure has been identified, so pregnant women are advised to abstain from alcoholic beverages altogether, of course. If you have any questions about alcohol, lifestyle, fertility or pre-conception care, feel free to call us! We are always happy to help.