Alcohol Facts

Alcohol Facts

women conversing and drinking wine at a restaurantIt can be hard to decipher fact from fiction when you’re trying to find information about your health. Regardless of what you hear from friends or family, any amount of any type of alcohol, including beer, wine, and liquor, is dangerous for your baby.

The safest choice is to avoid all alcohol at all times when pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

More Facts about Alcohol and Pregnancy

  • Alcohol can hurt your developing baby. Alcohol used during pregnancy crosses the placenta easily and reaches the developing baby. Some studies have also found that alcohol use during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
  • It can cause long-term health issues for your child. Any amount of alcohol use during pregnancy can cause life-long: birth defects, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.
  • The only way to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is to avoid alcohol while pregnant. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are incurable but they are 100% preventable if you don’t drink alcohol during pregnancy – not even one drop. There still isn’t enough data to know if even small amounts of alcohol can cause FASD. The best way to prevent FASD is to avoid any amount of alcohol.
  • Your baby could go through alcohol withdrawal. If you’re drinking during your pregnancy, it’s possible your baby may go through withdrawal when born.
    woman reclining on a blanket on the grass, holding child and a drink

  • If you are breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider. Moderate use of alcohol while breastfeeding (one standard drink) is safe as long as you wait two hours after having your drink. It is no longer recommended to pump and dump. Using alcohol while breastfeeding can make it difficult for your body to produce the breast milk your baby needs.
  • Will I get in trouble if I tell my doctor I drink alcohol? Many pregnant people are afraid they will be judged and worry it will get them in trouble if they tell their healthcare provider they drink alcohol. It’s true, healthcare providers like everyone else NH, must report a situation where a child is unsafe. However, using substances during pregnancy does not automatically mandate a call to the Division of Children, Youth and Families. Healthcare providers only call when they think a child’s safety is a concern. If you are concerned – ask your doctor how they handle this situation during your prenatal visits and when you deliver your baby. Make an informed decision before you share information about your substance use.

The bottom line: to protect your baby, avoid any amount and any type of alcohol while you’re pregnant.

Changing your diet is just like anything else you may have tried to stop: it’s hard at first, but there are tools and resources to support your journey. First, contact your healthcare provider. Your provider can help you create a Plan of Safe Care to help you quit drinking alcohol while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.

Talk with your provider about your use of alcohol or marijuana early in your pregnancy. They can help you make a plan to reduce the harm caused by using these substances. They can help support you with resources and a plan for a healthy pregnancy and when you return home with your baby.

For support, assistance and resources, call 2-1-1 NH, the statewide portal which connects New Hampshire residents to the most up-to date resources, including family support and addiction related resources. 2-1-1 NH is staffed by specially trained Information and Referral Specialists to help you navigate a plan to reduce your harm and begin quitting for good.