Alcohol and pregnancy

Every moment matters in pregnancy and any alcohol you drink passes directly to your baby.

Two people embracing while one holds a fetal ultrasound photo

Did you know

Alcohol consumed at any stage of pregnancy can damage a developing baby’s brain, body, and organs. It can lead to a preventable disability known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Alcohol increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and babies being born prematurely, being small for gestational age, or with low birth weight.

Alcohol consumed during pregnancy passes from the mother’s blood to the baby’s blood via the placenta.

When drinking alcohol, a developing baby’s blood alcohol level will increase as the mother’s blood alcohol level increases.

Alcohol can damage the development of all the organs and systems of the developing baby’s body, including the brain.

The baby’s brain starts developing very early in pregnancy, often before someone knows they are pregnant.

The moment you start trying to get pregnant is the moment to stop drinking alcohol to help avoid damage to the developing baby.

If you are finding it difficult to stop drinking, help is available. Talk to your GP, midwife, obstetrician, or an alcohol and other drugs counsellor.

When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for the baby.

If there is alcohol in a breastfeeding mother’s bloodstream, then there is alcohol in the breastmilk.

Alcohol in breastmilk can disrupt the baby’s feeding and sleeping patterns and has been linked with developmental problems.

The only way to eliminate alcohol from breastmilk is to wait for your body to process the alcohol, which takes an average of two hours per standard drink. 

Community stories

Personal stories about people’s experiences of alcohol, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

A friends supporting an alcohol-free pregnancy by drinking mock-tails.