Most mums-to-be are well-versed in the caution to avoid alcohol – but there’s also a link between actually conceiving and indulging in wine o’ clock…
A new study published in BMJ reveals the possibility of a relationship between alcohol consumption and fertility – but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let your beloved glass of red languish until after labour.
According to the study’s findings, women who imbibed 14 or more servings of alcohol per week have a slightly higher chance of decreased fertility. However, those who consumed half that number – defined as “moderate” drinking within the context of the research – did not exhibit decreased fertility.
The research sample consisted of 6,000 Danish women aged 21 to 45, all of which were trying to conceive without the help of fertility treatments between 2007 and 2015. Researchers observed 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles among the women who consumed 14 or more drinks a week. The women who did not drink had 1,381 pregnancies in 8054 cycles.
Being an observational study, though, the study’s findings are not conclusive proof of a connection between how many libations one enjoys and their chances of conceiving. Further, researchers admit that just 1.2 percent of the women studied drank over 14 servings of alcohol a week.
The thing is, excessive alcohol intake not equating to good health is a given, and good health is a key factor in improving chances of conception, as well as carrying a healthy pregnancy to term.
Annie Britton, PhD, a reader from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, comments on the study’s findings: “For women trying to conceive, improving their physical health makes sense, and this may include a reduction in alcohol intake. However, the latest evidence from this Danish study is that total abstinence may not be necessary to maximise conception rates. The decision whether to consume alcohol is a woman’s individual choice and one that may involve weighing up the possible harm and associated guilt of drinking during (unknown) early pregnancy,” Dr. Britton writes. “If alcohol is consumed moderately, it seems that this may not affect fertility. However, it would be wise to avoid binge drinking, both for the potential disruption to menstrual cycles and also for the potential harm to a baby during early pregnancy.” (Dr. Britton does not endorse any brands or other products).