Alcohol

Advice about alcohol in pregnancy can get confusing – the simplest line is to not drink while you’re pregnant

Alcohol passes from the mother’s blood across the placenta to the developing baby. Alcohol in the baby’s blood can interfere with his or her oxygen and nutrient supply. The baby’s brain and other organs can be affected, causing long-term problems with health and development

Stillbirths are also more common in women who drink heavily. Drinking alcohol at critical times in the baby’s development, heavy (‘binge’) drinking and frequent drinking increase the likelihood that the baby will be affected

If you're not sure about drinking in pregnancy, keep it simple

  • The safest way to ensure your baby is not damaged by alcohol is to not drink while you’re pregnant
  • If you are finding it hard to stop drinking, ask for help from your midwife or GP. They will be able to refer you for special support

There are free confidential helplines you can call

  • Drinkline (England) 0300 123 1110

  • Drinkline (Scotland) 0800 7314 314

  • Wales Drugs and Alcohol helpline ‘DAN 24/7’ 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to 81066

  • Addiction Northern Ireland provides support and treatment 02890 664 434

These short films about drinking in pregnancy were produced for Our Chance, a campaign by the charities Sands and Best Beginnings to raise awareness of health issues in pregnancy