It’s commonly known that alcohol during pregnancy is unsafe. There are several associated risks, and the impact of alcoholic beverages on an unborn baby can be detrimental to their health.

Alcohol naturally passes through our blood-brain barrier. But when you’re pregnant, it can pass through the placenta and impact the health of your baby. Some of the negative implications of this include congenital disabilities (birth defects), lower birth weight, premature birth and conditions such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It’s also said that the impact can be as extreme as miscarriage or stillbirth.

Along with avoiding all alcohol while pregnant, it’s also recommended that you don’t drink when trying to become pregnant either. This is because you may fall pregnant and not be aware of it for some time. At this time of conception and early pregnancy, your baby is in the very early stages of development, so all associated risks should be reduced.

What can I drink instead?

If you find yourself in a social setting where the people around you are drinking, instead of drinking alcohol, try a healthy mocktail or infused sparkling water instead.

Healthy mocktails can be made in the same way a normal cocktail is made, but without the alcohol. The main element that will distinguish an unhealthy mocktail to a healthy one will be the ingredients used. For example, many cocktails/mocktails use commercial fruit juices. They may even have syrups or added sugars. Opt for ones that use natural ingredients; try to avoid added sugars and use freshly squeezed juice instead.

Infused sparkling water is going to be one of the easiest and healthiest options when finding a replacement for an alcoholic beverage. This is simply sparkling water infused with fruit, herbs, or even teas. There are so many delicious combinations of ingredients that can go in these. One example is a non-alcoholic mojito, with freshly squeezed lime juice, mint leaves and sparkling or soda water.

Though they may seem like a suitable substitute, soft drinks are not recommended. They are generally bad for our health and are filled with refined sugars, flavours, artificial sweeteners and other chemicals that we’re better off avoiding, especially throughout pregnancy.

From when you’re trying to fall pregnant, right through pregnancy and even to the end of your time breastfeeding, it is recommended that alcohol is avoided for the health and safety of your baby. It’s best to be safe and err on the side of caution in these situations and temporarily giving up alcohol is a small price to pay for the ongoing joy and love that a baby will bring into your life.

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