Consider Drinking Now Rather Than Later If You Are Trying to Get Pregnant.

Buried in a recent erroneous report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about alcohol and pregnancy is a good idea: women are usually pregnant for at least a few weeks before they find out. So if you are trying to get pregnant, you might want to consider your alcohol consumption right now.

A pregnancy test does not even register as positive during the first two weeks of the embryo’s existence, and typical pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness do not appear until a few weeks after that . (This is why it makes sense to start taking prenatal vitamins when you are trying to conceive rather than waiting for a positive result.) The fetal brain is most sensitive to alcohol about 2–3 weeks after conception , but alcohol can have potentially harmful effects at any time.

The CDC found that half of pregnancies are unplanned and that women do not stop drinking when they start trying to conceive : About 75% of young women drink, whether they try or not.

The only question remains is whether it is generally possible to drink alcohol in the first weeks of pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says no . The American Academy of Pediatrics also says no . The real answer is probably more complicated. We know that excessive alcohol consumption or the habit of drinking two glasses a day puts the fetus at risk , but there has been no research that could tell us whether light drinking affects babies as they grow up .

So it boils down to this: think about it. If you are trying to conceive, consider if you are comfortable risking a few drinks. And if you are making a keg holder every night because you are not planning a pregnancy, continue that intention using effective contraception .


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