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Planning a pregnancy

Woman smiling as she holds and looks at pregnancy test


Planning a pregnancy is an exciting time. It’s also a great opportunity to go alcohol-free. Make the moment you start trying the moment to stop drinking alcohol.

For the health of both mum and baby, it is important to have an alcohol-free pregnancy. This is because alcohol can affect your pregnancy and damage the developing baby from conception. 

Most people don’t know the moment they become pregnant. So, if you’re planning a pregnancy, it is important to stop drinking alcohol as soon as you start trying.

Information about alcohol and pregnancy

Alcohol can affect fertility and increase the time it takes to become pregnant. 

At any stage of pregnancy, alcohol passes directly to the developing baby. This can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and babies being born prematurely, small for gestational age, or with low birth weight.

In early pregnancy, alcohol can disrupt the development of cells that go on to form the placenta, reducing its effectiveness and increasing the risk of other placental problems. 

Once formed, the placenta is not a barrier to alcohol. This means that throughout pregnancy, any alcohol passes directly to the developing baby and can damage their brain, body, and organs, and lead to a disability for the child known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 

It is best for you and your partner to stop drinking before you start trying to have a baby to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Alcohol also affects male fertility, and it is helpful for partners to join you in being alcohol-free. 

Sharing your decision with others

Female doctor reassuring smiling Vietnamese mature woman

If you usually drink alcohol, stopping can surprise the people around you, especially if they don’t know you’re planning a pregnancy. People may ask why you’re not drinking.

What you can say if asked why you’re not drinking

Try saying:

“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.”

Try saying:

“No thanks, we’re trying for a baby.”

“I might be pregnant, so no thanks.”

“No thanks, not while I’m planning a pregnancy.”

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.

Sometimes it can be difficult to stop drinking alcohol 

If it’s difficult for you to stop drinking alcohol, help is available. Speak to your doctor, midwife, or obstetrician for support. You can also speak with an alcohol support service.

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