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Can You Drink While Pregnant?

It can happen to anyone. Maybe you weren’t trying to get pregnant, but now you’ve skipped a period and you just went out for drinks with your partner last night. Perhaps you already know that you’re pregnant, but a friend told you that a glass of wine (or two) is harmless in early pregnancy. Whatever your situation, you may be concerned about the damage that drinking during pregnancy can cause.


You don’t have to sit in uncertainty. Care Net is here to answer all of your questions, all without judgment! Today, we’re exploring what can happen if you drink early in and during pregnancy.


Can Alcohol Affect a Pregnancy Test?

First things first. If you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms, you need to take a pregnancy test. But, what if you’ve been drinking recently? Could the alcohol in your system affect your results?


The short answer is no—alcohol itself doesn’t affect pregnancy test results. However, alcohol can cause dehydration, which will make you want to drink more water. Excess water can dilute your urine, making it difficult for the pregnancy test to detect your hCG levels[1], which could produce an inaccurate result. If you’ve been drinking recently, you may want to allow your fluid intake to return to normal before taking a pregnancy test so you can get accurate results.


Don’t want to take this first step alone? Consider visiting Care Net! We offer free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds so that you can confirm your pregnancy in a confidential, compassionate environment.


I Drank a Little Before I Knew I Was Pregnant. What Should I Do?

The good news is that drinking a little in early pregnancy is unlikely to cause harm[2]! However, it’s crucial to stop drinking immediately once you find out that you’re pregnant. The sooner you stop drinking, the healthier your baby will be[3]! Be sure to discuss your concerns with your doctor and attend regular prenatal checkups to monitor the health and development of your pregnancy.


How Much Alcohol Can You Drink While Pregnant?

Although a small amount of alcohol early in pregnancy isn’t usually a big concern, you must stop drinking to prevent any alcohol-related problems from developing later on. There’s no “safe amount” of alcohol to drink while pregnant. Even if you don’t drink often, drinking a lot at one time can be very dangerous[3]. Additionally, there’s no “safe kind” of alcohol to drink during pregnancy—this includes wine, beer, and mixed drinks[4].


Alcohol seems to be the most dangerous during the first three months of pregnancy, but drinking at any point during pregnancy is still very risky[3]. The best thing to do is to avoid alcohol altogether for the rest of your pregnancy!


How Much Alcohol Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Can Drinking Alcohol Cause a Miscarriage?

Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to severe consequences. For example, drinking heavily (having more than 2 drinks a day) increases the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome[3]. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage[3].


These conditions are totally preventable if a baby isn’t exposed to alcohol in the womb. If you want to maintain a healthy pregnancy but can’t stop drinking, there are ways to get help! Contact your doctor or local alcohol treatment center to get started.


Can I Drink if I’m Planning on Getting an Abortion?

You should still avoid alcohol even if you’re considering abortion. Alcohol thins the blood, which can interfere with your body’s ability to clot and control bleeding[5]. Drinking before or after an abortion increases the risk of excessive bleeding[5], which would require emergency treatment.


We also encourage you to explore all of your pregnancy options and receive an ultrasound before an abortion. This will help you to make the most informed decision for your health and future!


Free Pregnancy Services in Missoula, MT

We get it—an unexpected pregnancy can be stressful enough without the fear that something has already gone wrong. You aren’t in this alone. Care Net provides free pregnancy services so that you can get the care and support you deserve!


Give us a call at (406) 549-0406 or schedule your appointment online today!


Please be aware that Care Net does not provide or refer for abortion services.


Sources


  1. Common foods and drinks: What can affect a pregnancy test result? Clearblue. (2022, September 29). Retrieved from https://www.clearblue.com/pregnancy-tests/what-can-affect-a-pregnancy-test-result#

  2. Alcohol and Women. ACOG | American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021, December). Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/alcohol-and-women

  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2022, January 10). Alcohol and pregnancy. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007454.htm

  4. Alcohol and Pregnancy Questions and Answers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, November 14). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/faqs.html

  5. Ballard, H. S. (1997). The Hematological Complications of Alcoholism. Alcohol Health and Research World. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826798/#

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