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Dublin: 0°C Sunday 11 April 2021
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Trying for a baby? You should both give up the booze now

Revised information from experts outlines the impact of drinking alcohol on a baby’s development.

Image: couple image via Shutterstock

NEW GUIDANCE FOR pregnant mothers and those trying to conceive has suggested that both prospective parents should give up alcohol entirely while they are trying to have a baby.

The guidelines, published today by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said that for couples planning a pregnancy, it is advisable not to drink at all during that time.

Either partner drinking heavily before pregnancy can make it more difficult to conceive.

Though it is advised that prospective parents give up alcohol, RCOG also pointed out that anyone who is a heavy drinking who stops immediately could suffer some serious side effects.

“If you want to stop drinking, you should discuss this first with your doctor who will be able to help you to manage any side effects.”

For a woman, drinking during the time you are trying to get pregnant means you can run the risk of consuming alcohol in the very early stages of pregnancy, before you find out you have conceived.

Most babies will be fine in this instance, according to the guidelines, but it depends on how much you have been drinking. Women are advised to talk to their midwives or doctors who will be able to give advice.

This revised information for women also outlines the effect of drinking above the safe limit on a baby’s development in the womb.

It is recommended that women do not drink alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy. The guidance states that drinking alcohol may affect the unborn baby as some will pass through the placenta and drinking around conception and during the first three months may increase the chance of miscarriage.

After this time women are advised to not drink more than one to two units, more than once or twice a week. Drinking more than the recommended amount during pregnancy can affect the development of the baby, in particular the way the baby’s brain develops and the way the baby grows in the womb, which can lead to fetal growth restriction, increase the risk of stillbirth and premature labour.

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