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Watching others get shit-faced while you remain sober(ish) is never fun. And while you might not want to drink yourself under a table. If you’re trying to cut back, it can feel pretty crap to be the only one not letting loose. 

Whether you’ve just started or been trying to conceive for a while, the subject of alcohol is always a challenge.

So, we caught up with midwife Lucy Oldham, aka @wonderbump, to get some expert advice on drinking and trying to conceive.   

Should I drink less when I’m trying to get pregnant?

You might not like this answer, but drinking lots of alcohol is probably not the best thing to do if you’re trying to get pregnant. Lucy says, “Along with enriching our diet, increasing our folic acid intake, movement, and mental health, we advise to withdraw from certain substances, including smoking and alcohol consumption. By eliminating alcohol and other substances that cause harm in pregnancy, we are helping to create a nourishing, safe environment for your baby to develop.”

Does alcohol affect egg quality?

Is a shedload of booze going to affect your eggs? Lucy says, “I have not personally read much evidence of alcohol directly affecting egg quality. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t the case. However, we have seen a link between alcohol negatively impacting female fertility and ovulation. This may present through heavy, irregular, missed periods or decreased overall fertility. So, alcohol may not affect your egg but may affect the ability to fertilise it.”

Will getting drunk stop me from getting pregnant?

You’ve probably heard stories of people who were trying for a while, and then they conceived their baby after a wild night out. “It happens a lot”, says Lucy. She adds, “Getting drunk does not stop you from getting pregnant, but it is not recommended.
We see many couples that were not intentionally trying to get pregnant and socially drinking that fall pregnant.
However, if you are trying to conceive, we would certainly advise against getting drunk.”

Should I take a break and enjoy a blowout?

Trying for a baby can take time, and “If you want to enjoy a certain event without feeling stressed, and it is possible to take a break, then it could be a good idea”, says Lucy. She adds, “While as a health care professional I would never advise getting drunk. If you have got a big party or wedding coming up and you want to give yourself a break and have a few glasses, then maybe ease off on yourself and pick up a healthier lifestyle next month.”

I got drunk, and I’ve just found out I’m pregnant

It can feel worrying to think you drank a lot when you conceived, and you’re probably concerned that you might have caused some damage. “It’s unlikely”, says Lucy. She explains, “The risk of previous alcohol intake negatively affecting your pregnancy is low. This is because women generally find out that they are pregnant within the first four weeks and then quickly adapt their lifestyle to embark on a safer pregnancy,” says Lucy.
“Should you find out you are pregnant after knowing you drank alcohol, know that the risk of miscarriage is still low, and it’s better to move forward and optimise your health and pregnancy”. She adds, “The last thing we want is women to suffer anxiety and stress unnecessarily over decisions and actions that have happened and which they cannot change.”

The short story is: Don’t worry about it. You had a great time, and now you’re preggo. It’s time to celebrate… *with a green juice.

Should my partner stop drinking when we’re trying to conceive?

We heard they have to do it too! Or that’s what we’re telling them. Lucy says, “Sorry to disappoint, but I have not read any strong evidence to show paternal abstinence from alcohol will result in quicker conception rates. This is a very subjective and personal decision that you and your partner should discuss before or when trying to conceive. However, as a personal observation, I find if you’re giving up alcohol, it makes sense you do it together to minimise temptation and give you both a sense of solidarity and responsibility around alcohol and trying for a baby.”

*Forwards last part of response to partner in question.

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