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Can Alcohol Stop You From Getting Pregnant?

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Jul 14, 2022

    Can Alcohol Stop You From Getting Pregnant?

    Can alcohol stop you from getting pregnant? One of the things that professionals will advise you to avoid at all costs while pregnant is drinking alcohol. But did you know that even while trying to get pregnant, you should refrain from drinking alcohol too?

    Recent studies have observed the association between alcohol and chances of becoming pregnant. These have suggested that if you want to conceive, it is advisable to avoid heavy drinking. Even in the second half of your period’s cycle, moderate drinking can lower your chances of being pregnant.

    But is this really something that can stop you from getting pregnant or just one other thing to look out for?

    Can alcohol really stop you from getting pregnant?

    A study made by Dr. Kira Taylor and fellow researchers observed data from women aged 19 to 41 years old at the Mount Sinai Study of Women Office Workers. All 413 women involved in the study had diary entries that report the amount of alcohol they ingested, what type, all while providing urine samples on the first and second days of their menstrual cycles all to check the state of pregnancy.

    In the study, heavy drinking equals more than six drinks a week, moderate was three to six drinks, and binge-drinking was four or more drinks on a single day. These drinks were about 355 ml of beer, 148 ml of win, lastly about 44 ml of spirits.

    Can alcohol stop you from getting pregnant? Based on the results, any heavy drinking within the phases of the menstrual cycle reduced the probabilities of conception compared to those who didn’t drink. Information like this is needed because women who might be trying for babies would think it’s safe to have a drink or more during their menstrual cycle.

    However, alcohol might only be an additional factor among many. The study only shows associations between drinking and trying to conceive, but it might not be the only rational cause. Dr Taylor claims that the results of the study should not mean alcohol fully prevents pregnancy. In her own words, “alcohol is not birth control,” meaning if a woman has unprotected sex, she can still conceive.

    Fecundability and fertility

    Some people might mistake fertility for fecundability, or vice versa. However, these are two distinct concepts.

    In the study, the researchers refer to fecundability as the chances of conceiving a child amidst a single menstrual cycle, or a month. Fertility on the other hand means a person’s natural capacity in conceiving a child. One is related to menstrual cycles; one refers to the ability in itself of conceiving children.

    Another important takeaway from the study mentioned above is that alcohol intake can only reduce chances of one’s fecundability, not fertility itself. This means that the chances of conceiving within a menstruation cycle can be lowered, but it can’t be stopped completely.

    Many factors also play into affecting one’s fertility and fecundability, some of the most impactful ones could be age, ethnicity, smoking, and plenty of other biological mechanisms.

    Use protection at all times

    You might think that just because alcohol can reduce chances of pregnancy, it might make it a new and much more accessible form of contraception. According to the researchers of the study, it is not advisable.

    Alcohol cannot be a form of birth control, as it does not exactly stop the chances of pregnancy or conception. Rather, it merely reduces chances up to 45%, more or less. 

    Always make sure you’re using a form of contraception if you aren’t trying to conceive a child. Condoms, birth control pills, or any one you may prefer will work more than a few bottles of wine. It’s always better to stay safe than be sorry in the end.

    Alcohol is still dangerous

    In heavy, consistent amounts, alcohol can still be very dangerous to your health. Even if you aren’t trying for a baby, you’re simply drinking for the fun of it, too much can never be a good thing.

    Keep yourself and other people safe and try to avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol in one go or over the course of a few days. It will save not only you and your chances of getting pregnant, but your internal organs too.

    Never forget to practice safe sex, avoid developing an alcohol addiction, and enjoy your life while staying safe at the same time.

    Learn more about Getting Pregnant here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Jul 14, 2022

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