When couples begin to think seriously about their fertility, they tend to take a look at their habits: what they are doing right, what they could be doing better, and what could be harming their chances of conceiving. One of the most common habits is drinking. In the United States, 14 million adults abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. But what implications does that have on their fertility? Does your alcohol consumption have to be extreme for it to have an effect on your fertility? We’re digging into this issue today!
One of the biggest hurdles facing researchers as they study the effects of alcohol is a patient’s reluctance to accurately report alcohol consumption. While widely accepted, alcohol consumption can be viewed as an undesirable habit and people tend to under-report their consumption, skewing any test results.
However, researchers have gathered enough evidence to say with certainty that alcohol consumption affects fertility in women. One study that looked at 430 couples over three years showed that women who consumed fewer than 5 alcoholic beverages per week conceived at a higher rate (64%) than women who drank more than that in a week (55%).
How does alcohol affect women?
Drinking alcohol directly affects a woman’s menstrual cycle, making it more difficult to conceive. Alcohol can cause conditions like amenorrhea (the absence of menses), abnormal development of the endometrial lining, and a lack of ovulation. Drinking can disrupt a woman’s reproductive functions, causing conception to take longer or even prevent it entirely.
Not only can alcohol consumption prevent conception, it can also have an effect on the child if a woman continues to drink during pregnancy. After birth, there are still things to be concerned about. The most serious of conditions that can result from maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome. Children with FAS experience slowed growth, facial deformities, and cognitive and behavioral problems.
As with most indulgences, experts recommend moderation. The safest option when trying to conceive is to cut out alcohol entirely. If you are struggling to remove alcohol from your routine, consult with a professional.
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your fertility treatment options. To learn more about family planning and at home insemination, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.