Who could deny your wish to celebrate the news of your pregnancy? So perhaps a glass of Champagne shouldn’t be frowned upon, but downing the whole bottle is a different story.

Alcohol crosses from the placenta through to your baby very quickly and easily. So regular heavy drinking can cause a whole host of problems for your baby and is known as fetal alcohol syndrome.

The question is “What is your interpretation of heavy drinking?”

It may not be as much alcohol as you think. Just drinking 6 units of alcohol every day would put your baby at serious risk of contracting fetal alcohol syndrome. Even consuming as little as 2 to 6 units of alcohol per day could still result in you giving birth to a baby suffering a mild form of fetal alcohol syndrome. That being said, it’s still not clear exactly how much alcohol you can drink before it begins to harm your baby, because research has yet to properly determine this.

Here’s a guide to what exactly constitutes 1 unit of alcohol…

1 single measure of spirits like vodka or whiskey

1 small glass of wine or champagne

A half pint of beer

1 sherry glass of sherry, port or fortified wine

1 sherry glass of liqueur

Less than one bottle of alcopops

General guidelines state that you shouldn’t drink any more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol once or twice per week. But some doctors say you shouldn’t drink any at all. You should be clear that the type of drink is not the issue; it’s the actual amount of alcohol itself that’s important.

If you’re normally a drinker then you may find that you don’t like the taste of alcohol whilst you’re pregnant. Or you may just think it’s safer to sign the pledge and not have any to remove the risks. But if you do normally enjoy a drink and find it particularly hard to abstain then there are some measures you can take:

  • Don’t drink every day; make some days completely alcohol free.
  • Choose low-alcohol drinks or alcohol free alternatives.
  • Quench your thirst using non alcoholic drinks.
  • Only sip your alcoholic drink and put it down between sips.
  • Ask family and friends for support by not offering you alcoholic drinks.

If you usually drink a lot and are worried about the effects and want to cut down, then go talk to your doctor or your midwife who will be able to provide advice and support.