Most know that drinking during pregnancy is associated with harm in exposed offspring, but what are the effects of drinking before pregnancy is known? Less understood is whether maternal alcohol consumption before one knows whether they are pregnant is associated with harm. A meta-analysis published in Alcohol Clinical Experimental Research 2014 Jan;38(1):214-26 showed a small but significant effect on cognition in children exposed to their mother’s binge drinking before she knew she was pregnant. Binge drinking was defined as 4 or more drinks during one sitting.
Relative to alcohol consumption we are often asked if drinking can affect one’s ability to conceive or be the reason for infertility. Studies have found that in women, a small consumption of wine does not appear to decrease fertility. However, moderate-consumption of wine appears to reduce the time taken to conceive. Consumption of less than two glasses per day has not been found to have a negative effect on conception. As for male fertility, decreased fertility is generally only seen in men who consume three glasses of wine daily or it’s equivalent.
It is important to acknowledge that your lifestyle affects your fertility. A number of factors in addition to alcohol consumption can affect fertility. These factors include stress, tobacco, marijuana, caffeine and weight and can accumulate to significantly decrease pregnancy success. If you have questions on how to test your fertility or if you need to see a specialist, please contact us. We are here for you!