A lot of people ask me how much alcohol is okay to consume when trying to conceive. The reality is that there is no safe level. Even though there are some guidelines and some of these guidelines have been shifted and increased and decreased over the years, the truth and the scientific literature actually shows that there is no safe level.
Neither partner should be drinking alcohol leading up and when trying to conceive for a minimum of 120 days prior to a conception attempt, the reason being that while we accept alcohol has a teratogenic effect on a developing embryo, many people remain unaware that it also has a very damaging effect on the development of the egg and the sperm. Many sperm abnormalities and egg quality issues are caused by the effects of alcohol and other toxins like smoking, drugs and the chemicals in our environment.
The best thing to do is to quit alcohol altogether when trying to conceive especially if you have been trying to conceive for 2 years or more or have experienced recurrent miscarriages.
We use this strategy because we know that it will make a difference. The potential effect of alcohol on the body, is the same as say rat poison. You wouldn’t drink a little bit of rat poison for fun, so you shouldn’t also drink alcohol for fun if you’re trying to conceive or if you’re experiencing fertility difficulties because it will negatively impact your chances.
Now of course I’m sure some of you will be watching, going, “My friend, he’s an alcoholic, and he’s had a baby,” or vice versa, “My other friend drinks and does all these things and has been able to conceive and keep a healthy pregnancy to term.”
Well the reality is that happens for some people, it’s certainly very well documented in the scientific literature that fetal alcohol syndrome is real and it’s a real cause of mental retardation in babies and it’s certainly not the desired effect of any parent in terms of having a healthy baby.
We know that alcohol has an impact. Plus epigenetics are always at play. Epigenetics relates to the impact of external circumstances in how my body or your body is affected by those external circumstances and in this case, alcohol.
Some people are affected very negatively. There are certain people that cannot drink at all because they feel terrible after doing so, and other people it doesn’t affect so much. No matter what level you feel you are affected, your fertility will be impacted negatively.
So the key aspect is if you want to give yourself not only the best possible chance of having the healthiest possible baby but also the best chance that you have of overcoming infertility and/or recurrent miscarriage, quitting alcohol altogether is absolutely the best way to be able to achieve this.
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