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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
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Preconception/Pregnancy
- Alcohol Use During Pregnancy




There is no safe time, no safe type and no
safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy.

 

But it's just one drink!

According to Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all. There is no safe amount of alcohol for a growing baby.

For fun and flavourful alcohol-free drink recipes, visit our Mocktail page.

 

It’s OK to drink earlier in my pregnancy, right?

No, it isn’t. It’s not safe to drink in the early, middle, or later stages of pregnancy. There is no safe time (or trimester) in your pregnancy to drink alcohol.

 

But I’ve heard beer is safe to drink during my pregnancy…

There is no safe type of alcohol that is safe for a growing baby. Although different types of alcohol contain different concentrations, there is no kind or brand of alcohol that is safer than another. All types of alcohol should be avoided.

 

What if I drank before I realized I was pregnant?

The best thing you can do is to plan to stop drinking alcohol before you become pregnant. However, if you drank alcohol before you were aware of your pregnancy, stop drinking and contact your health care provider.

 

But I’m not planning to get pregnant any time soon…

50% of pregnancies are unplanned.

So, it’s important to maintain your health throughout your reproductive years even if you aren’t planning to have a baby any time soon. For tips on staying healthy before becoming pregnant and information about your reproductive life plan, visit our preconception page.

Remember, if you are not actively preventing pregnancy with a reliable method of birth control, you are planning a pregnancy.

For more information about your reproductive life plan, visit

 

So…Why shouldn’t I drink while I’m pregnant?

Alcohol exposure in pregnancy can cause birth defects and brain damage to your baby.  This lifelong disability is called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. FASD is the leading cause of preventable developmental disability in among Canadians. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

I’m going to be a Dad… Why do I need to watch what I drink?

Alcohol can affect the quality of your sperm and is linked to poor sex performance. If you are planning a pregnancy with a partner, it is important to be supportive. No alcohol at all is the safest choice for a couple who may become pregnant!

Help give your baby a healthy start! Have an alcohol-free pregnancy!

 

If you have questions or concerns or need help to stop using alcohol, please contact:

 

Other Useful Links:

 

References:

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011). “The healthy pregnancy guide alcohol and pregnancy."

Motherisk. (2008). Alcohol, nicotine and substance use.

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. (2012). “Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines”. Accessed October 2014.

Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2010). “Alcohol Use and Pregnancy Consensus Clinical Guidelines.” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists of Canada 32, no. 8




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