There's been a lot of debate surrounding the question of whether or not consuming small amounts of alcohol can harm a pregnancy. In an interesting twist, a new study suggests that just a glass of wine a week can reduce a woman's chance of even conceiving by as much as 33 percent, reported the Daily Mail.
The study, released by the British National Health Service, collected data from women who drank varying amounts each week. They found that those who consumed a glass of wine or two per week were approximately one-third less likely to conceive a child than those who did not drink. Those who consumed three or more glasses per week cut their chances by at least two-thirds, according to the study. On the flip side, women who were "teetotal," meaning that they did not drink at all, had at least a 90 percent chance to conceive.
Does this mean that women who are looking to have a child need to cut their weekly glass of wine out of the picture entirely? Not necessarily, said Dara Godfrey, M.D., of the New York fertility clinic Reproductive Medicine Associates. Godfrey's research focuses on women currently undergoing IVF treatments.
"My advice at the end of the day is to limit alcohol to very low amounts or to abstain completely," Godfrey told the Daily Mail.
Allan Pacey, M.D., of the University of Sheffield, offered another perspective. He said that women who are used to consuming a couple of glasses of wine per week may find that cutting it out of their routine is stressful - and stress also inhibits the ability to conceive. Pacey suggested that these women cut back where possible, but not to the extent where it disrupts their normal routine.
How alcohol affects men's role in conception
Interestingly enough, alcohol can hinder a man's ability to play his role in the conception process as well. Patrick O'Brien, M.D., spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said "Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. It can also reduce libido, and cause impotence," according to the U.K. advocacy group, DrinkAware.
Most doctors agree that small to moderate amounts of alcohol, such as wine or beer, aren't generally harmful to a couple's chances of having a baby. Those who are reproductively challenged, however, may want to limit their consumption in order to give themselves the best possible chance at pregnancy.
Are you concerned that a glass of wine or two each week will hinder your chances? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.