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Question Is it OK to drink when trying for a baby?

The safest choice when trying for a baby is for both parents to avoid alcohol. As there is usually a two-week window between ovulation and being able to confirm a pregnancy, it’s important that women don’t drink alcohol until they know whether they are pregnant or not.

Question Why should men avoid alcohol when trying for a baby?

There is still a lot we don’t know about how alcohol affects sperm, so the safest option is for both parents to avoid alcohol when trying for a baby.

Question Is it OK to drink alcohol after the first trimester?

The brain continues to develop throughout pregnancy, so drinking alcohol at any time can damage different parts of the brain. There is no level of drinking alcohol that can be guaranteed to be completely ‘safe’ or ‘no risk’, and no period of time that is a ‘safe time’ to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Question Is it OK to just have one or two drinks every week?

There is no safe level of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, meaning even just one or two drinks can cause damage to a developing baby’s brain. The more alcohol and the more frequently alcohol is consumed during pregnancy, the higher the risk of FASD.

Question Doesn't the placenta filter out harmful substances?

Alcohol crosses the placenta. The baby is exposed to the same blood level of alcohol as the mother. Because the liver is not fully formed the fetus cannot process the alcohol and may have the same blood alcohol content or higher than the mother and it remains at that level longer.

Question Are certain types of alcohol safe to drink during pregnancy?

It doesn’t matter whether it's champagne, wine, beer or spirits. What is measured is the amount of alcohol, not the type or amount of liquid.

A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol.

Question Doesn't FASD only occur in children of women who have an alcohol addiction or are heavy drinkers?

No level of alcohol consumption is ‘safe’ or 'no risk' for the developing fetus. Although the risk is greatest with high, frequent alcohol consumption, particularly in the first trimester, low to moderate levels of alcohol consumption can also affect the development of the brain at any time during pregnancy.

Question Can children grow out of FASD?

FASD is a lifelong disability. It cannot be cured, but with support, those living with FASD can live happy and healthy lives.

Question Do children with FASD look different?

FASD is often referred to as the ‘invisible’ disability, as often you can’t tell just by looking at someone's face - in fact, less than a third of people with FASD have any distinctive facial features.  It is the damage to the brain that causes the physical, cognitive and behavioural impairments.

Question Do all children with FASD have an intellectual disability?

An intellectual disability is an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) score of less than 70. Most people with FASD have an IQ between 70 and the low 80s. Some people with FASD can have a higher IQ.

Question Does drinking alcohol increase milk production?

Alcohol does not increase milk production, and has been shown to inhibit let-down and decrease milk production.

Question Can alcohol help women relax and breastfeed more easily?

Alcohol inhibits let-down and creates stress for the mother and the baby, who can't get enough milk.

Question How long does alcohol remain in your breastmilk?

Alcohol enters your breastmilk approximately 30 – 60 minutes after you start drinking, where it remains for several hours. The general rule is that for every standard drink you have, you need to wait at least two hours before you can breastfeed again.     

Question Can drinking breastmilk containing alcohol harm your baby?

When you drink, the concentration of alcohol in your blood and breastmilk is the same. Therefore, exposure to alcohol through breastmilk can have serious implications for a baby, including affecting how their brain and spinal cord develops.

Question If I do choose to drink while I’m breastfeeding, how can I make sure I do so as safely as possible?

Experts recommend avoiding drinking for at least the first month after your baby is born so that you can establish a feeding pattern. If you then choose to drink while breastfeeding, there are a few steps that you can take to help ensure the safety of your baby and to protect your milk supply.

For starters, we recommend you download the Feedsafe app, which calculates when you can safely breastfeed according to your height and weight, plus the number of drinks you have had. 

The general rule is to always breastfeed your baby before you drink, and to eat before and while drinking alcohol. You should also consider expressing in advance so that you have breastmilk to feed your baby while you are drinking alcohol, as you may need to express the milk that you’re not able to give to the baby to avoid your supply being affected.  

Question If I do choose to drink, do I need to pump and dump?

If you have been drinking and still have alcohol in your system, no amount of pumping and dumping will clear the alcohol from your breastmilk. It is only once your bloodstream has cleared of alcohol that your breastmilk will be clear of alcohol.