Can I Get Pregnant When I've Been Drinking? Here's What Experts Recommend

If you're trying to conceive, you may have heard conflicting advice in regards to drinking. My OB-GYN told me that it's OK to "drink until it's pink" — meaning I needed to ditch the wine the moment I had a positive pregnancy test. My midwife, however, told me that a glass of wine or two a week was no problem throughout pregnancy. Other moms I know were told to stop drinking when they were trying to conceive. So, it's natural to wonder, can I get pregnant when I've been drinking? 

The answer, according to experts is, yes, but with a few caveats. Moderate drinking shouldn't affect your chances of getting pregnant, but you might want to cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume while you are trying to conceive, for a variety of reasons. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women of childbearing age abstain completely from alcohol.

This recommendation, however, might be unrealistic, as according to researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, over half of U.S. women consume alcohol when they conceive. A large review of studies published in the journal Fertility Research and Practice showed little to no relationship between moderate drinking and fertility or miscarriage risk. Similarly, a large study of Danish women showed that drinking fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week didn't impact fertility in women. Since heavier drinking might be another story entirely, some experts recommend that women try to reduce their alcohol use, rather than abstain entirely, so there's a more realistic and balanced approach to life when trying to conceive.

In 2016 the CDC released new guidelines for women and alcohol, recommending that all woman of childbearing age, who are not using birth control, stop drinking alcohol entirely, whether they are pregnant or not. Their website published the following advisory: