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Can Alcohol Lower Fertility?

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As everyone knows, drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a big no-no. However, newer research is suggesting that it's a good idea to lay off the booze a full three months before you even try to get pregnant.

What Are the Recommendations?

There’s conflicting information regarding how much alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy and while you're trying to conceive. Some sources say you shouldn't drink at all while pregnant, while others say that a few alcohol units a week is fine.

But to be on the safe side, it's best to avoid booze altogether during the lead-up to conception and throughout your pregnancy. That way you know that the risk of alcohol-related problems will be zero.

So How Does Alcohol Lower Fertility?

Unfortunately, researchers have not firmly established how drinking reduces conceiving, but it's becoming more obvious that it can indeed do just that. Some experts believe that even light drinking (five alcohol units per week or less) can decrease your likelihood of conception. Obviously this is not a hard and fast rule, since alcohol affects everyone differently, but if you really want to maximize your chances of conceiving a baby, it's best to stop drinking entirely. This is especially true if you have had issues with infertility in the past, or if you are trying IVF. Research has suggested that drinking six or more alcohol units per week can reduce the likelihood that your IVF treatment will be successful.

What About My Partner?

While you're trying to conceive, the man in your life should also limit his consumption of alcohol. It can lead to lowered testosterone and less active sperm—not to mention the unfortunate effects on performance! Your partner doesn't necessarily need to cut out alcohol entirely, but he should definitely keep his drinking to a minimum.

How Much Drinking Reduces Conceiving

Studies on alcohol and conception show conflicting information on how much drinking reduces conceiving. But if you're planning to get pregnant soon, it's very smart to stop drinking well in advance of discontinuing your contraception. Once you see a positive pregnancy test, you'll already be about two weeks into your pregnancy, so it doesn't make sense to wait until then to lay off the sauce. If you stop drinking at least three months before you actually start trying to conceive, you will guarantee that not a drop of alcohol will affect your baby.

What If I Get Pregnant Unexpectedly?

Surprise pregnancies happen all the time! We don't always have the luxury of planning conception months in advance. If you find out that you've inadvertently been drinking while you're pregnant, don't worry! Just make sure to stop drinking right away, and everything should be fine. And as always, be sure to bring it up with your healthcare provider for extra reassurance.

You already know that drinking during pregnancy isn't a good idea, but not all of us realize that it's also smart to cut out booze during the lead-up to conception. Eliminating alcohol from your daily life can increase your fertility and help you to get pregnant sooner.

 
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