Congratulations on your pregnancy! All parents want to give their baby the best start in life, which is why it’s important not to drink any alcohol during pregnancy.
This is because any alcohol you drink passes directly to your developing baby and can damage their brain, body, and organs.
Stopping alcohol when you’re trying for a baby (or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant) is best for the health of you and your developing baby.
Information about alcohol and pregnancy
At every stage of pregnancy, any alcohol consumed passes directly to the developing baby, which creates a range of increased risks, including risk of:
- stillbirth, premature birth, and low birth weight
- damage to the baby’s developing brain, body, and organs, and
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
FASD is a lifelong disability caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy. It is the leading preventable developmental disability in Australia.
Sharing your decision with others
If you usually drink alcohol, stopping can sometimes come as a surprise to the people around you, especially if they don’t know you’re pregnant.
What you can say when asked why you’re not drinking
“I’m on a health kick and have given up alcohol.“
“I have a big day tomorrow, so no thanks.”
“No thanks, I’m not drinking tonight.”
“No thanks, not while I’m pregnant.”
“Alcohol can harm my baby, so no thanks.”
“No thanks, I’m looking out for my growing baby.”
Support from partners, friends, and family
There are many ways your partner, friends or family can support your decision to have an alcohol-free pregnancy – including choosing to stop drinking alcohol too.
Talk to your doctor, midwife, or obstetrician
If you drank alcohol before you knew you were pregnant and are concerned, or if you are having trouble stopping drinking, talk to your doctor, midwife, or obstetrician.
Health professionals speak to lots of people about alcohol. They can answer your questions and provide information specific to your circumstances.
It is never too late to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Throughout your pregnancy the baby is always developing and growing.
Did you know?
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 doctor, midwife, obstetrician, or an alcohol and other drugs counsellor.
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 passes from the mother’s blood to the baby’s blood via the placenta.
A developing baby’s blood alcohol level will increase as the mother’s blood alcohol level increases.
The baby’s brain starts developing very early in pregnancy, often before someone knows they are pregnant.
Sometimes it can be difficult to stop drinking alcohol
If it’s difficult for you to stop drinking alcohol, know that you are not alone and that help is available. Speak to your doctor, midwife, or obstetrician for support. You can also speak with an alcohol support service.