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Houston Fertility Center

Alcohol, Fertility, and Pregnancy: What You Should Know

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on December 29, 2015

A woman having a glass of winePatients of the Houston Fertility Center know that they can come to us for answers. We will be more than happy to discuss the risks and benefits of infertility treatment options, which in turn allows patients to make confident and well-informed decisions.

Your diet is an important aspect of fertility, and there are some interesting findings about the impact that alcohol has on your baby's health and your ability to conceive. Let's consider these matters right now.

How Bad Is Alcohol During Pregnancy?

Drinking alcoholic beverages while you are pregnant significantly increases the risk of serious birth defects and miscarriage. It's for this reason that many doctors and fertility specialists recommend that pregnant women refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages in excess during pregnancy.

Is There an Acceptable Amount of Alcohol During Pregnancy?

Given the myriad concerns over fetal health and development, there has a been a fair amount of debate about how much alcohol is acceptable during pregnancy. The Department of Health has stated that having up to a glass of wine a week is an acceptable amount of alcohol during pregnancy, but even still, many fertility specialists feel that even that miniscule amount may not be advisable given the impact this can have on fetal development.

It's important that you discuss these matters in more detail with your general practitioner or OB-GYN. They will be able to give more detailed information on dietary do's and don'ts during your pregnancy.

Does Alcohol Affect Fertility?

While there is some ongoing debate, it does appear that alcohol consumption can potentially impact your ability to have a child. This applies to both men and women.

In a study conducted of in vitro fertilization (IVF) couples by Harvard, women who had three glasses of wine a week were 18 percent less likely to become pregnant. For men, the same study noted a 14 percent reduction in successful treatment.

Why Does Alcohol Result in Potentially Lower Fertility or Infertility?

In men, alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce testosterone levels, resulting in a lower sperm count or poorer sperm quality.

In women, the exact cause or causes of reduced fertility has yet to be identified. The research is still ongoing.

Alcohol Consumption If You're Trying to Get Pregnant

If you are trying to become pregnant, it's a good idea to reduce your consumption of alcohol if not abstain from drinking entirely. Some fertility specialists recommend that you avoid drinking alcoholic beverages up to three weeks before you stop using contraception.

In addition to stopping alcohol consumption, a host of other dietary concerns may be considered to boost fertility. This includes adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet or avoiding certain foods that are high in unhealthy fats.

Fertility Treatment Options to Consider

If you have tried for a year to have a child with little success, it's important that you speak with a fertility specialist about the options that are available to you. This may include in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI), both of which can increase your chances of having a child. During a consultation process, we can go over all of the risks and benefits of various procedures in greater detail.

Contact Houston Fertility Center

If you would like to learn more about your treatment options for infertility, be sure to contact our fertility treatment center today. We at Houston Fertility Center will work with you to ensure the most ideal results possible.

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