It's Never Safe to Drink During Pregnancy -- But Don't Panic


glass of wineOh, my pregnant friends, are you sitting down? A new study brings some news that, while not unsurprising, may yet be tough to hear, especially for those of us who, unaware that we were pregnant during the first few weeks of pregnancy, maybe had a glass of wine or two in the days before seeing those twin lines appear on that tell-tale stick: It's never safe to drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy -- and it can be particularly harmful to your fetus during the first trimester.

On the (relatively) bright side, it's actually drinking alcohol at the end of the first trimester that puts your fetus most at risk for developing physical, behavioral, or cognitive problems, this new research, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, has found.

According to the study's authors, women "who are of childbearing age and who are contemplating or at risk of becoming pregnant" are advised to avoid alcohol. Those who are pregnant shouldn't touch anything alcoholic (not a glass of champagne, not a sip of beer) throughout their pregnancies.

Of course, the risks of drinking during pregnancy are serious and not something any mother would desire. But here's some perspective from a mother who, unaware I was pregnant with my first child, did have a few glasses of wine the first few weeks of my pregnancy. Once I learned the thrilling news, I of course stopped drinking anything stronger than orange juice, but I was pretty freaked out about the potential effects of those first unknowingly irresponsible weeks until I held my perfect baby in that delivery room. So here's the message I want to convey: If you had a glass of wine or two -- a cocktail, or a beer -- in the early days of your pregnancy, before you realized you were pregnant, DO NOT PANIC.

Presumably, at this point, knowing you're pregnant, you've already stopped drinking, but if you haven't, stop now and stay dry for the rest of your pregnancy. It's never too late to start. And the odds are still in your favor that everything will be OK and you'll soon be celebrating the birth of your happy, healthy baby -- with a glass of sparkling (non-alcoholic) cider, of course.

Did you drink in the early days of your pregnancy, before you realized you were pregnant?


Image via Davide Restivo/Flickr

1st trimester, is it safe


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cek302 cek302

Back to prohibition for the US.

ashjo85 ashjo85

I got pregnant a week before my wedding, and found out the day after I got home from my honeymoon. So yeah, you could say I was drinking. I was in Vegas for a week. DUH! Baby girl was perfectly healthy. This time, I was in the habit of having a glass of wine or two at night, but never was drinking hard like last time. In fact, I found out I was pregnant two days before I was due to miss my period, and I had a half glass of celebratory wine, and never looked back.

But I've never been one of those woman who will have a half glass during pregnancy here or there, even though some people get told it's fine. I have friends who did it. For me, it really wasn't worth the worry. I didn't miss alcohol that badly, and still don't. 

meaga... meagansmommy07

With both of my daughters I drank heavily(we're talking 10+ beers and 5+shots) a few days before I found out I was pregnant..both of them have turned out perfect!

Eques... EquestrianMom

I had the "stomach flu" for like, three months (oh, wait, morning sickness that never ended?) of my pregnancy, so I didn't drink in the beginning, even before I knew I was preggers. That said, I really wanted a glass of champange at my wedding, but two sips made me nausous. However, this may explain why when the day I went into labor, my had to have a beer (again, almost made it through half! wow) made my son push his way out :P

 I haven't seen any effects, and I've known a few other moms who drank not knowing or drank like, a glass of wine here or there during pregnancy and saw no permenant effects either.

nonmember avatar Manchester

Can someone post a link to the study? It seems that the new finding is that alcohol is most dangerous during the second half of the first trimester. i.e. A few drinks in very early pregnancy aren't going do major damage. Because they authors don't want to get sued, all the articles about this study say no alcohol. I would really like to read the actual study. I think Amy read a synopsis from another news article.

clg1213 clg1213

many things are preferrable, of course.  but most habits, in MODERATION, will be fine.  babies are made to be pretty resilient both in and out of the tummy!  is it BETTER to avoid it entirely?  probably.  is is HORRIDLY AWFUL to have a glass now and then? probably not. 

nonmember avatar Kay

Drinking during the first few weeks or pregnancy does not have an effect on the fetus because during that time the embryo does NOT share blood flow with the mother. The embryo is still a mass of cells and other tissue, but the blood supply from the mother has not yet been established.

nicol... nicole-tidwell

A pregnant woman who drinks any amount of alcohol is at risk for having a child with fetal alcohol syndrome. No "safe" level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been established. Larger amounts of alcohol appear to increase the problems. Binge drinking is more harmful than drinking small amounts of alcohol.

Timing of alcohol use during pregnancy is also important. Alcohol use appears to be the most harmful during the first 3 months of pregnancy However, drinking alcohol any time during pregnancy can be harmful.

There is your study. Put the booze down! 


PonyC... PonyChaser

Hmmm, just a few weeks ago it was encouraged to have a drink or two, and not worry about it.

I wonder how we all were born just fine since 40ish years ago, none of these studies were around, and people drank. Amazing.

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