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Alcohol in pregnancy

A ‘little drink’ is a lot for a baby to handle. In fact, the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Chief Medical Officer for England is that mums-to-be should avoid alcohol altogether to minimise health risks to the baby. Your tiny tot simply can’t process alcohol the way you can, and it’s potentially harmful.

baby in womb drinking wine

When mums-to-be drink so do their babies

Late into pregnancy you might start to feel better and fancy the odd glass here or there. But even low level drinking isn’t safe. The bottom line is that when mums-to-be drink alcohol, so do their babies. You’ve really got to ask yourself – is it worth the risk?

Benefits of staying alcohol free:

  • Healthy baby
  • Healthy body
  • You’re giving your baby the best start in life

Drinking alcohol puts your baby at risk of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Health problems including liver damage, epilepsy, learning and behavioural difficulties.

What would you like to know?

The latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Chief Medical Officer for England says that mums-to-be should avoid alcohol altogether as it could harm the baby.

Lots of people think one glass of wine is one unit. However, the truth is, just one large glass of wine (250ml) is around three units of alcohol. Remember, any amount of alcohol you drink puts your baby at risk.

She was lucky. The best advice is to stop drinking alcohol for the full term of your pregnancy.

No. The placenta does not filter alcohol. The alcohol goes directly into your baby’s bloodstream. So when you drink, your baby drinks too.

Have a chat with your midwife or GP if you have any questions about alcohol and pregnancy.

Alcohol free options

As a mum-to-be, you want to stay alcohol free for your whole pregnancy. On the other hand, you don’t have to miss out on enjoying a nice cold drink. Just choose an alcohol free option such as a mocktail (a cocktail without alcohol).

This Cosmopolitan mocktail is alcohol free and delicious.

Give it a try!

What you need

  • 1 lime
  • 2 cups of light cranberry juice
  • 2 cups of sparkling water

How to make it at home

  1. Pour the cranberry juice into a jug
  2. Add the sparkling water
  3. Squeeze in half a lime
  4. Leave to chill before serving in a cocktail glas
  5. Add a wedge of lime and some ice to finish

3 ways to stay off the booze

  • Tell your friends and family that you won’t be drinking – and why.
  • Don’t feel pressurised into drinking alcohol when you’re out socialising. There are always alcohol free options available.
  • Ask for a mocktail at the bar, or try making one at home with our recipe above.

Alcohol and pregnancy myths uncovered

“It’s ok to drink Guinness when you’re pregnant because it’s full of iron.”



Guinness is alcohol and it should be avoided altogether during pregnancy. To increase your iron levels during pregnancy try eating leafy greens.

“One or two glasses of wine is fine; it’s actually quite relaxing for the baby.”



Research shows that no alcohol is safe to drink when you’re pregnant as it increases the risk of harming your baby’s development.

“It’s okay to have one or two drinks in the last few months of pregnancy as the baby is already fully formed.”



Your baby continues to grow and develop right to the end of your pregnancy and beyond, so drinking alcohol at any time during your pregnancy could put your baby at risk.

Find out more...

You can find out more by visiting the following websites

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NHS pregnancy and baby guide

Information from the NHS on the effects drinking alcohol when pregnant.

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24 Magic Months

This free app was created to guide parents and carers through the first 2 years of a child’s life with trusted, simple tips and advice from healthcare professionals and parents.

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