Alcohol and Women
Alcohol is widely consumed within Scotland however drinking during pregnancy can interfere with the baby’s healthy growth and development. Therefore it is is best to avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive.
The Chief Medical Officers across the UK advise that if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Women who find out they are pregnant after already having drunk alcohol during early pregnancy, should avoid further alcohol, but should be aware that it is unlikely in most cases that their baby has been affected.
Alcohol and Pregnancy
Should I avoid alcohol when trying for a baby?
Drinking alcohol can affect fertility for both women and men and can make it more difficult for some people to become pregnant. Therefore it is recommended that both men and women avoid alcohol when trying for a baby.
Is it safe to drink alcohol when pregnant?
There is no ‘safe’ level of alcohol to drink when pregnant therefore it is best to avoid alcohol completely when trying for a baby or pregnant. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risks.
Women who find out they are pregnant after already having drunk alcohol during early pregnancy, should be reassured that the risk of harm to their baby is low however they should avoid further alcohol. If you are worried about how much you have been drinking when pregnant, talk to your doctor or midwife.
What is the most critical time for a pregnant woman to avoid alcohol?
The baby is developing throughout pregnancy, therefore drinking alcohol at anytime during pregnancy could affect the unborn baby.
How can alcohol affect the unborn baby?
Alcohol passes from the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. The baby’s liver is unable to effectively process alcohol and therefore the baby is at risk of greater alcohol exposure. Alcohol can interfere with the baby’s healthy growth and development.
Alcohol can affect a persons ability to look after babies and children as it can affect your co-ordination, judgement and speed of reactions. Therefore if you are planning a night out that involves drinking alcohol, arrange for someone who is not drinking to look after the baby and/or children. Alcohol can produce a deeper sleep therefore babies and small children should not sleep in the same bed as anyone who has been drinking alcohol.