Can Drinking Alcohol Affect your Fertility?

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When you are trying to get pregnant, there are many things that you must take into consideration. Among the many concerns that you have, diet is a major factor for maintaining the healthy body that you need to get pregnant. Although most usually think that this only refers to the types of food that you eat, diet can also refer to what you drink as well.

1. Small Amount of Alcohol

Many popular drinks, such as alcohol, should be avoided when trying to get pregnant. While a small amount is ok in moderation, consuming alcohol in excess can lead to issues with fertility. It is suggested that women who are trying to get pregnant refrain from drinking alcohol at all.

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Both men and women can be affected by alcohol in the area of fertility. For men, they may find that the quality and quantity of their sperm to be compromised if they consume too much alcohol. Studies have shown that women who consume even one to five alcoholic beverages per week to have lowered fertility.

2. Drinking while Pregnant

Most people understand that drinking while pregnant can lead to some very serious birth defects, however, many may not realize the effects that alcohol can have on the body while they are trying to get pregnant.

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In any case, if you are used to drinking regularly, it is a good idea to stop drinking while you are trying to get pregnant. This will give you the practice that you need in order to get through your entire pregnancy without having a drink.

3. Baby’s Health

Not only does alcohol affect fertility rate, but it can also affect the health of your baby, even if you only drink while you are trying to get pregnant. Many women have found that consuming alcohol while they are attempting to conceive has left them with miscarriages, stillbirths and even birth defects. Heart defects and brain anomalies are also common of babies who are born to alcoholic mothers, even if they refrained from alcohol while they were pregnant.

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4. Lower Testosterone

As before mentioned, men are affected by alcohol as well. Since men usually drink more than women do, they tend to drink in excess. This excess leads to lower testosterone that can affect the sperm negatively. Too much alcohol is also hard on the liver as well. Studies have shown that men who drink heavily are more likely to have trouble conceiving a child compared to those who do not.

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5. Stop Drinking

Both partners should, ideally, completely stop drinking for several months prior to attempting to conceive. It is believed that many of the infertility issues that women and men experience are directly related to alcohol use.

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Since there is a direct link between alcohol and infertility doctors will stress how important it is to stop drinking when you are trying to get pregnant. Although many issues that are related to alcohol are long lasting, research has also shown that the negative effects of alcohol on fertility can usually be erased.

Pregnant women drinking

However, it does take the body and reproductive system quite a bit of time to repair itself and ridding your body of the toxins that have been left behind by alcohol is somewhat of a process. For men, however, they tend to happen faster than for women.

6. Seek Professional Help

If you are having a difficult time ending your relationship with alcohol, you should seek professional help quickly. There are many options available; from AA groups to help from your doctor. You may even find help by confiding your problems to some of your friends who may have gone through the same struggles.

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Whatever your situation, if you are trying to get pregnant, it is important that you take care of your body. Diet and exercise are very important to this process, but refraining from drugs, alcohol and nicotine are also crucial. Having an occasional drink socially once in a while, as long as you are not already pregnant, is fine, but it is really best if you refrain from alcohol altogether.

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There is a direct link between alcohol and fertility. However, some of the leading research on the area can be a bit misleading because they don’t always agree with each other. It is difficult to say how much alcohol is too much when it comes to fertility. With this in mind, it is a good idea to limit the amount of alcohol you drink if you are trying to get pregnant.

Regina Ledoux, RN, CNM

Ms. Ledoux began her career as an ObGyn nurse practitioner prior to becoming a practicing midwife in the Santa Cruz community. Working together with ObGyn physicians in her own practice, she has over 20 years experience in women's health, pregnancy and childbirth.