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Alcohol and Fertility


Most advice from government bodies and health information services recommends that "if you are trying to get pregnant then it is best to abstain from alcohol altogether". This is because thereís plenty of evidence to support that large amounts of alcohol consumed can have a very negative impact on fertility issues for the couple trying to conceive (more on that later).

How much is too much?

However there is no evidence to suggest that having a glass of wine a week and with a nice meal will do any harm. You may even find it helps if you have been trying to conceive for a while by taking away some of the stress of baby making and putting a little romance in the air.

So perhaps a small glass of good quality red wine with those healthy antioxidants might be just what you need for a romantic dinner, around ovulation time. I am not suggesting that this as a daily activity and I am not suggesting beers and spirit either, but it is probably fair to say that no more than three small drinks a week will not do any harm under normal circumstances. Of course, if you do not normally drink alcohol then now is not the time to start.

The Research

There have been many studies into whether or not it is it harmful to drink alcohol when trying to get pregnant. These studies vary between good quality research and people perpetuating good intentioned rumours. And of course there are always those studies that try to show that even light drinking can cause harm, and of course if the study is designed well enough, it is possible to show almost anything to be true.

So how can we get the real facts?

Well, we do know that excessive alcohol can be extremely harmful to the newly formed foetus and the growing unborn baby. Experts haven't yet defined a safe level of alcohol for women who are pregnant nor do they know whether or how babies differ in their sensitivity and reaction to alcohol.

So while no one can fault a woman who decides to have a glass of wine, itís perhaps understandable that some women still donít want to take the chance.

Male Fertility and Alcohol

In 2004 according to NCCWCH, drinking excessively was found to:

  • Impair the quality of sperm.
  • Decrease testosterone levels
  • Affects the ability of the testes to mature the sperm properly
  • which can lead to lower sperm counts and increased numbers of abnormal sperm in semen
    (Emanuele and Emanuele 1998).

Research has shown that the quality, quantity and mobility of sperm produced by regular drinkers is inferior to that produced by their tee-total peers.

Alcohol also inhibits the body's absorption of nutrients such as zinc, which is one of the most important minerals for male fertility.

Female Fertility and Alcohol

Excessive alcohol ingestion is associated with numerous ovulatory dysfunctions. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian dysfunction resulting in amenorrhea (absence of menses), anovulation (lack of ovulation), luteal phase dysfunction (abnormal development of the endometrial lining) and hyperprolactinemia.

In 2005, the U.S. Surgeon General in the US issued a warning to women who were pregnant or wanting to become so to abstain from alcohol use. The warning was issued to prevent the chance of giving birth to a baby with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The birth defects that are associated with this disorder include mild to severe learning disabilities, growth deficiencies, abnormal facial features, and central nervous system disorders. According to the Surgeon General,a baby can be affected by alcohol use even during the earliest weeks after conception, even before a mother knows she is pregnant. Another study has linked alcohol consumption during pregnancy to an increased risk of preterm delivery and miscarriage.

If you or your partner want to drink less or stop drinking alcohol then we can help you with Hypnotherapy. Call Health and Harmony Clinic on 07 3392 2077


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