Trying to conceive can be a really confusing time — you're not yet pregnant, but you could be. (But maybe you're not.) So, if you're confused on how to behave, what to eat, or how much to exercise, particularly during the two week wait (the time between ovulation and when a home pregnancy test might give a reliable result), you're not the only one. Many women wonder what the alcohol recommendation is for this time. Can you drink alcohol after ovulation, or should you ignore that glass of red?
Can You Drink Alcohol After Ovulation?
Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, OB-GYN, tells Romper, "I have no problem with women drinking alcohol in the two weeks between possible conception and a positive test." But, McDonald does advise patients to try to limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks in a sitting in order to keep blood alcohol levels out of the excessive range for potential pregnancy. "No alcohol consumption is still the recommendation once that test is positive," she notes.
According to New York City nurse/midwife Kara Manglani, "If women do consume alcohol during this time, there is likely no effect on the pregnancy. That is because the placenta doesn’t develop until after the first missed period." But, Manglani tells Romper, "Ideally, women should still not consume alcohol after ovulation and before their period." Pregnant or not, she continues, "Women should always avoid binge drinking, as binge drinking negatively affects fertility."
Dr. Carla Ortique, OB-GYN at The Women's Specialists of Houston at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, however, advises her patients differently. "It is advisable to avoid alcohol during the period of time that a woman is actively attempting to conceive," Ortique tells Romper. "This includes the two weeks prior to a positive pregnancy test." So basically — everyone has an opinion and thought behind this.
Should You Drink At All While You’re Trying To Conceive?
Basically, if you're trying to conceive, you should act like you’re pregnant until you know that you’re not. That means avoiding alcohol, limiting yourself to one to two cups of coffee per day, skipping fish high in mercury, and avoiding raw or undercooked seafood, meat, poultry, and eggs. In other words, you should act like you're pregnant, because you could be.
The recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are similar. The CDC website noted that there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, and because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner you stop drinking, the safer it will be for you and your baby. The CDC also asserted that if you are actively trying to get pregnant, you should stop drinking immediately in order to avoid exposing your baby to alcohol without meaning to, as alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or birth defects. The organization recommended that if you drank any amount of alcohol while you were pregnant, you should talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible in order to be cleared of any concerns, too.
If you are actively trying to conceive, take your whole body health into consideration, and with advice from your doctor, decide what food/alcohol changes you'd want to make as you try to get pregnant. Casual drinking during the two week wait could potentially be harmless, but your own healthcare provider would know best as to your personal health and wellness situation. Be sure to be upfront and honest with them regarding to your alcohol intake, so that they can guide you appropriately throughout your upcoming pregnancy.
Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, OB-GYN
Kara Manglani, Nurse/Midwife
Dr. Carla Ortique, OB-GYN
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