Alcohol & Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or even thinking of getting pregnant stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol includes wine, wine coolers, beer and liquor. No amount of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy.

If you drink alcohol, it can hurt your baby’s growth. Your baby may have physical and behavioral problems that can last for the rest of his or her life.

Myth:  My friend told me it is okay to have a beer or glass of wine while pregnant and breastfeeding.

Reality:  There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy.

Myth:  I can drink alcohol while nursing because it helps me relax and produces more milk.

Reality: Alcohol gets into the bloodstream quickly. It enters your breast milk and passes to the baby during
nursing. The baby’s tiny developing system is not equipped to handle alcohol and is affected much more severely.

Facts to know

  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect your baby in many ways.
  • Mothers who drink during pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage and infant death. Their babies are at a higher risk for mental disabilities, birth conditions (including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), and behavior disorders.
  • It’s never too late to help your baby’s development. Anytime you stop drinking during pregnancy can improve the chance of having a healthier baby.
  • Getting appropriate prenatal care, eating healthy, sleeping and taking prenatal vitamins all benefit you and your baby  

Saying No to Alcohol

You may be tempted to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol often is part of social activities, like parties and sports events. You may be used to having a glass of wine with dinner or at the end of a busy day. Giving up these drinks during pregnancy may be hard. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Think about when you usually drink alcohol. Plan things to have instead, like fruity drinks or water. Use a fun straw or put an umbrella in the glass to make it more festive.
  • Tell your friend and family you don’t drink during pregnancy. Ask them to help and support you.
  • Get rid of alcohol in your home.
  • Avoid bars and places where you usually drink while you are pregnant.
  • At parties, stay away from the drink table. Stick with people who aren’t drinking.
  • Hang out with people who will help you not to drink alcohol. Ask them if they would not drink alcohol around you.

Fathers and Friends

If you are a father-to-be or if you know someone who is trying to get pregnant, is pregnant or breastfeeding, support their decision to have an alcohol-free pregnancy.

Also, consider not drinking around a pregnant woman that you believe might be struggling with staying alcohol free.

Get Help

If you think you may have a problem or cannot stop drinking before or during pregnancy, contact the following agency for confidential information.

NH Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Drug & Alcohol Services
1-800-804-0909, press 1


OR Talk to your Healthcare Provider

For More Information
Department of Health & Human Services
Division of Public Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Section
1-800-852-3345, ext. 4517

National Resources