When trying to conceive, NHS and healthcare professionals often recommend that both men and women stop drinking alcohol. But is one glass of wine too much? Here’s what research has shown so far:
Alcohol affects both male and female fertility, but the level of consumption associated with risk is unclear. High levels of maternal alcohol consumption are known to be dangerous to the unborn child, but the effects at lower levels are less certain.
Drinking between one and five drinks a week can reduce a women’s chances of conceiving, and 10 drinks or more decreases the likelihood of conception even further.
In women, drinking more than one to two units a day during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of low birth weight, preterm birth, and being small for gestational age.
Men’s fertility can be affected by alcohol as it lowers testosterone levels. it can also cause impotence, reduce libido and affect sperm quality.
The effects of alcohol are:
Affect sperm quality
Reduce chance of live birth
Increase risk of miscarriage
Increased risk of pre-term birth
Increased risk of low birth weight
How much is too much?
Current general advice for people not trying to conceive is for both men and women is not to exceed 14 units per week.
Even though there is uncertainty about the effects of low levels of alcohol on fertility and pregnancy, for the reasons mentioned above, it is recommended that women trying to have a baby should not drink alcohol at all to keep health risks to the baby as low as possible.
Where can you get help?
If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, the advice is not to drink alcohol at all. If you want to reduce or stop alcohol consumption, you can speak to your GP. A fertility counsellor or coach trained on managing addictions can also help you.
If you are worried about the amount of alcohol you are drinking and would like to reduce and find a healthy alternative or learn more about leading a healthy lifestyle for fertility, book a Free Fertility Coaching consultation with our awarded Nurse Consultant and NLP Coach Andreia Trigo. Book your appointment here.