Should You Still Drink When Trying to Get Pregnant?

It’s common to abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Most women understand the serious effects that drinking can have on a developing fetus, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and a plethora of physical, intellectual, and behavioral disabilities. While most medical professionals maintain a strict stance on not drinking while pregnant, there’s still some debate on whether or not the occasional drink is harmful when trying to conceive. However, some believe that refraining from alcohol can put added stress on couples trying to get pregnant.

Getting pregnant is not easy for everyone. In fact, about 10 percent of women in the U.S. have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Women are struggling with infertility experience the daily stress of wondering what she could do to boost her odds of fertility. Is she tracking her menstrual cycle correctly? Is she eating healthy? Is her LH surge on point? For these women, a glass of wine in the evening can help melt away feelings of insecurity and hopelessness. 

According to the CDC, there is no safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or when you are trying to conceive. However, 3 in 4 women trying to get pregnant do not refrain from drinking alcohol after stopping birth control. The problem lies in those early weeks of pregnancy. Most women do not know they are pregnant for at least two to four weeks following intercourse. Drinking alcohol during these early weeks of pregnancy puts the rapidly developing fetus at risk for birth defects and developmental disabilities. 

So is drinking while trying to get pregnant a major no-no? According to a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, small amounts of alcohol early in pregnancy may not put the mother’s or baby’s health at risk as much as previously believed. This research found that minimal alcohol use during the first trimester does not appear to increase the risk of high blood pressure complications, premature birth, or low birth weight. If that’s true, doesn’t it stand to reason that the occasional drink while not pregnant can’t really hurt?

Ultimately, the choice to abstain from alcohol while trying to conceive is your personal choice. However, by using a reliable ovulation predictor device or technique you can typically enjoy the occasional drink guilt-free. When you know that you’re in your follicular phase (the period in your menstrual cycle before ovulation), you know that you’re not pregnant and there is no baby that can be harmed.