during pregnancy

Is It OK to Drink in Early Pregnancy?

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There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Some experts recommend abstaining from alcohol completely. Others say a drink once or twice in your later trimesters is acceptable. But for the most part, experts have agreed that drinking in early pregnancy was a no-no. The first trimester is so important for fetal development, and drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and other complications. But new research indicates that drinking small amounts in your first trimester isn’t as bad as we initially thought. Is it OK to drink in early pregnancy?

The public health message is that no alcohol during pregnancy is the safest option. But is it OK to drink in early pregnancy?

A recent study showed that small amounts of alcohol during the first trimester may not be as risky as experts initially believed. The study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that minimal alcohol use during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy does not appear to increase the risk of complications, premature birth, or low birth weights.

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In the study, researchers compared birth outcomes for just over 5600 women. They were asked about their drinking habits during pregnancy. The answers ranged from three to seven drinks per week to more than seven. The rates of premature birth, babies with low birth weights, and blood pressure complications were the same across the board.

However, heavy drinking during pregnancy, specifically the first trimester, can lead to serious complications and birth defects.

Heavy and consistent alcohol use during pregnancy is linked to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or FAS. This irreversible and long-term condition can lead to complications for your baby, from premature birth, low birth weight, cognitive issues, and physical impairments.

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Having a drink or two during your later trimesters likely isn’t a cause for concern,. However, not drinking at all is still the advice experts urge pregnant moms to take. But if you’re concerned about the few drinks you had before you found out you were pregnant, there’s no need to worry. Small amounts of alcohol, even in the first trimester, are unlikely to do any harm.

Is it OK to drink in early pregnancy? The best advice is still to stop drinking alcohol as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. But don’t stress about the couple of glasses of wine you had before that test came back positive.

(Image: iStock / kieferpix)