Cutting out alcohol while you're pregnant means your baby can grow properly

Give your baby a better start in life

Getting babies healthy and active from birth gets them off to the best start

Read our advice

Looking forward to fatherhood?

If you're a dad-to-be, there are some easy ways to help your partner to have a healthier pregnancy

Find out more

Family and friends

Helping your relative or friend have a healthy pregnancy can also be good for you

Read more

When you drink, your baby drinks - avoid drinking alcohol while you're pregnant

What you drink, your baby drinks too. Swap booze for juice or tea.

We all like to relax and unwind at the end of a long hard day – and that doesn’t change when you are pregnant.

The thing is that what you drink, your baby drinks too. But as your baby’s liver isn’t even developed until the last month of pregnancy, even a little bit of alcohol can be damaging.

It can cause birth defects like facial deformities, and can cause learning difficulties and problems with emotional development. It can stunt your baby’s ability to grow, even after it is born, and increases the risk of having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.

Viewing video content in NHS Choices

If you do not have a version of the Flash Player you can download the free AdobeFlash Player from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

If you choose to drink, to minimise the risk to your baby, don’t drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol – that’s the same as a small glass of wine – once or twice a week. And don’t get drunk.
Use the Change4Life drinks checker to find out how many units of alcohol are in the most common drinks

Medical warning: If you have physical withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have a first drink of the day), you should take medical advice before stopping completely. It can be dangerous to do this too quickly without proper advice and support.

Top tips – alternative ways to unwind

If you're used to having a drink to de-stress, you could try some new, alcohol-free activities instead while your bump is growing. Why not try these great, free ideas?

  • Go for a walk
  • Read a magazine or book
  • Watch a DVD
  • Get a massage from your partner
  • Have a relaxing bubble bath
  • Listen to music

Drink swaps

The good news is that just because you’re pregnant it doesn’t mean you have to leave your life behind. You can still enjoy a night with your friends. But instead of drinking alcohol, try switching to something else. Here are a few ideas:

  • Alcohol-free beer
  • Alcohol-free cocktail
  • Herbal tea
  • Juice or a smoothie: they’re tasty, and count as 1 of your 5 a day
  • Milk

For more ideas, check out the drink swaps on Change4Life

Why swap?

Overall, you'll protect your baby and probably feel brighter and healthier if you don't drink alcohol at all while you're pregnant. And that means you're more likely to feel ready when the big day comes. And being healthier overall can also help lessen the risk of depression after your baby is born.

Find services near you