Wine During Pregnancy

Image of pregnant woman drinking wine

Drinking Wine During Pregnancy: Safety and Risks

Can you drink wine during pregnancy?  A common area of concern during pregnancy is over what you can eat and drink while pregnant. It can be difficult to adjust to pregnancy and change without the help of your favorite comfort food or drink, so obviously you want to find out if your favorite foods and beverages are safe to ingest.

Whether or not you can have wine during pregnancy is a common concern for expecting moms.

Maybe you’re one of those people who likes to unwind with a glass of wine at the end of the day, or maybe you still want to enjoy a fancy dinner at your favorite restaurant.  On the internet and from your friends, you may get some mixed answers on whether or not you can indulge in a glass of wine during pregnancy.

A friend may even tell you they had a glass of wine every now and then while pregnant and had a perfectly happy and healthy pregnancy.

Is Wine During Pregnancy Safe?

Generally, it is known that excessive drinking is the cause of many of the complications which can occur during pregnancy, as a result of alcohol. These risks may not be associated as strongly with occasional drinking.

However, despite the varying information out there, the safest and most universal answer to this question is that no amount of alcohol has been deemed safe during pregnancy, and if at all possible, even casual drinking should be avoided.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Pregnancy Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics all note that no amount of wine during pregnancy is deemed safe and that consuming wine while pregnant should be avoided.

Image of pregnant couple drinking wine during pregnancy

Risks of Drinking Wine While Pregnant

The reason that no alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy is because of the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Fetal alcohol syndrome occurs when the pregnant mother drinks excessive amounts of alcohol.

The alcohol passes through the placenta and into the baby’s blood stream. This can cause many birth defects, from physical abnormalities to mental retardation. These effects will continue to impact the baby after they are born and as they grow.

There is no specific amount that has been determined to cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which is why the safest answer to whether or not you can drink during pregnancy is that it should be avoided, if at all possible.

That being said, there are some OB’s who may tell you on an individual basis the occasional glass of wine would unlikely harm your baby due to the limited amount of alcohol you would be introducing into your body. However, it’s important to note that although you have a greater chance of harming your baby the more alcohol you drink, even small or moderate amounts still pose a risk. In those situations it is left to your discretion. However, keep in mind no amount of alcohol has been deemed safe in pregnancy and it will certainly not benefit your baby. The best it could do is not pose any harm.

If you have problems with drinking or are an alcoholic make your health care provider aware so the two of you can take steps to ensure a health pregnancy.

If you suspect that you may be addicted to alcohol and excessive drinking, consider utilizing the resources below for help and support:

  • The Addiction Hotline 1-888-299-5213
  • www.AA.org

Compiled from the following Sources Pregnancy and Alcohol, American Pregnancy Association, http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-and-alcohol/ Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Fetal Alcohol Syndrom, American Pregnancy Association, http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/ Larson, D. (1996). Mayo Clinic family health book (2nd ed.). New York: W. Morrow. Harms, R. W. (2004). Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy. New York: HarperResource.