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Alcohol during pregnancy

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If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, no alcohol is the safest choice

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can harm a baby

  • Alcohol crosses the placenta to the developing baby
  • The alcohol will reach the developing baby very quickly and its blood alcohol level will be the same as yours
  • Alcohol can cause permanent harm to a developing baby at any stage during the pregnancy
  • Alcohol can affect the baby's body and in particular the baby's brain development
  • You can't see the brain and you might not know if the baby is OK or not until the child is older.

What if I drank alcohol before I knew I was pregnant?

Often pregnancy is unplanned and women drink alcohol before they know they are pregnant.

  • Small amounts of alcohol consumed before you are aware of your pregnancy carry a lower risk but are still a risk
  • Heavy or binge drinking carries a higher risk for the baby

If you can, stop drinking alcohol as soon as you find out you are pregnant. If not, talk to your midwife or doctor.

Stopping alcohol use at any stage of the pregnancy will improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

More information

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.


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