Drinking While Trying to Conceive: Is It Okay?

Drinking While Trying to Conceive: Is It Okay?

If you plan to get pregnant, does that mean no happy hour? We check in with the experts and find out what to know about drinking while trying to conceive.
You’ve probably heard that it’s best to put down that celebratory cosmo or after-work wine while pregnant.

But what about drinking while trying to conceive? Is this also a no-go?

While not as cut-and-dried, you may be better off sticking with soft drinks for now.

The CDC clearly states, “There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant.”

So pour yourself a club soda and settle in because we’re about to take you through all the details.

In this article: 📝

  • Why is alcohol a no-no in pregnancy?
  • Is it ok to drink alcohol while trying to conceive?
  • Can you drink during the 2-week wait?
  • So how long before conceiving should I stop drinking?
  • So what’s the deal with drinking while TTC?

Why is alcohol a no-no in pregnancy?

A lot of the concern around alcohol in pregnancy is because of the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a group of conditions that affect fetuses who were exposed to alcohol while in the womb.

Because of ethical constraints, it’s not easy to study how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy, as this could mean endangering perfectly healthy babies to try and find out.

It may well be that having one or two drinks a week during pregnancy is perfectly fine.

But we just can’t say for sure.

So it’s safer to turn your cocktails into mocktails for those nine-ish months.

Is it ok to drink alcohol while trying to conceive?

The short answer? Maybe — but it could impact your chances of conceiving.

2021 research suggests that the more alcohol a woman drinks while trying to get pregnant, the less likely she is to do so.

The study showed that “heavy intake” (more than six drinks a week) just before ovulation and in the luteal phase, was associated with fewer pregnancies.

Even “moderate intake,” three to six drinks a week, showed a reduction in fertility.

The authors of the study admit the need for more research, as some of the parameters were not perfect. But it’s definitely food for thought.

It has long been agreed that alcohol can disrupt the delicate hormonal balancing act needed for successful conception.

It’s for this reason that during a fertility treatment like IVF, alcohol is highly discouraged.

Before the IVF cycle begins, some doctors recommend taking consumption down to less than four drinks a week and stopping completely after ovulation.

So while it doesn’t seem like drinking in this chapter could harm your soon-to-be-baby, it might make it harder to conceive.

Can you drink during the 2-week wait?

During the two-week wait — that’s the time before ovulation and your next expected period — stress levels can be high as you wait to find out whether you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, having a drink at this time is not the best way to relax.

Research has found that moderate and heavy drinking in the time after ovulation lowered the chances of falling pregnant by 44% compared with not drinking at all.

This is due to the chance of disturbing the sequence of hormonal events that may otherwise lead to conception and pregnancy.

Those are some pretty strong numbers to consider if you want to get pregnant.

It can seem crazy that alcohol can impact things at such an early stage, but there is a lot happening after ovulation, with many complex hormones at play.

So keeping the alcohol to a minimum during this time may be the safest thing to do.

So how long before conceiving should I stop drinking?

It’s really up to you.

If you have fertility concerns or anticipate any reproductive challenges, you may like to stop the month before you start trying.

And get on that folate train, too, to give yourself a head start.

As always, check in with your doctor. They may have specific advice based on your medical history.

People with PCOS, a condition that affects ovarian function, may need to be particularly cautious.

Moderating your intake as soon as you want to become pregnant may be a good idea.

So what’s the deal with drinking while TTC?

From what we know at the moment:

  • Moderate to heavy drinking can disrupt ovulation.
  • Moderate to heavy drinking during the two-week wait could impact your chances of falling pregnant.

As for the odd glass of something alcoholic while you’re trying to conceive, the jury is undecided.

Minimal drinking in the few weeks before ovulation may be ok.

If you have special circumstances like a condition like PCOS or are undergoing fertility treatment, your doctor will probably have specific guidelines for you to follow.

And luckily for us, there are lots of non-alcoholic options to keep your thirst at bay.

A good mocktail or non-alcoholic beer may just hit the spot for now.

The TTC journey can be full of ups and downs.

You don’t have to go through them alone.

Join us on Peanut. We’re having the conversation.

💡 More from The 411:
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Should You Pee After Sex While Trying to Conceive?
Can You Get Pregnant After Ovulation?
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