Alcohol during Pregnancy

Alcohol use during pregnancy is a leading cause of birth defects and brain damage in children, according to Best Start, 2004. The consequences can last a lifetime. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy you should know:

  • There are serious, long-term consequences to alcohol use during pregnancy
  • There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy
  • There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy
  • It is best to stop drinking before pregnancy
  • Help is available if you need it.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding, the safest choice is not to drink alcohol. Alcohol is transferred to breast milk and your baby must clear it from his or her body. It also decreases the letdown reflex meaning your baby may get less breast milk during feedings. Heavy drinking during breastfeeding may decrease your milk supply and put your baby at risk for poor weight gain, poor growth and possible developmental delays.

If you are thinking about drinking alcohol on a special occasion:

  • Limit yourself to one to two drinks
  • Drink alcohol after breastfeeding, not before
  • Allow enough time for the alcohol to be eliminated from your body before feeding your baby. It takes an average of two hours for one drink to be eliminated
  • Pump and store your breast milk before having a drink

Try a fancy drink without alcohol! Check out these great mocktail recipess from Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health.

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