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For any woman, getting pregnant is a big milestone in life. Itis not as easy as it sounds. It involves a lot of lifestyle changes and sacrifices, at the end of which you will be blessed with a bundle of joy.
You will definitely have to make a lot of choices and changes in your life when you start trying to conceive seriously. This means that you will have to sacrifice a lot of actions and substances to have a baby. Cigarettes are a strict no as they reduce the chances of a couple getting pregnant, by harming the fertility of both the man and the woman. However, there have been questions raised about whether alcohol consumption can affect the chances of getting pregnant.
In this article, we shall take a look at what alcohol consumption means on the pregnancy front, and whether it will affect your chances in a great way.
Can Drinking Alcohol Affect Female Fertility?
We shall first look at the effects that alcohol can have on the female when they are trying to get pregnant.
Does alcohol affect fertility when trying to conceive? The answer is a resounding yes. Heavy alcohol consumption can affect the female reproductive system in a very negative manner. The chances of getting pregnant can go down dramatically if you are a victim of alcohol abuse. For heavy drinkers, Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian Dysfunction is a common disorder. It can result in a range of problems, like the lack of menstruation and ovulation, without which pregnancy is not possible at all. Also, the uterine lining can get affected making it difficult for the fertilised egg to get implanted, and the hormonal balance of the body is also thrown off. Prolactin levels in the bloodstream rise, and it leads to infertility in the woman.
The harmful effects do not just affect heavy drinkers, too. It also affects women who are moderate alcohol consumers. It has been found that women who consume up to five drinks a week can have lower fertility compared to their non-consuming counterparts. However, this does not mean that such women will take longer to conceive. It just means that the chances are reduced with alcohol consumption.
Alcohol affects everyone differently, so there is no line as to what ‘moderate’ consumption actually means. The safe thing to do is to not consume alcohol at all. This means that your reproductive system remains in the best possible condition. If the woman has had many issues with infertility before, it is imperative that she does not drink while she is trying to get pregnant. Otherwise, it will become very hard for that person to be pregnant.
Even when women are trying to conceive via methods like In Vitro Fertilization, alcohol consumption can have a marked effect on fertility. It was shown via research that women who drink more than six alcoholic beverages per week had a lower chance of the IVF treatment turning out to be successful.
In any way, it is best to stop drinking altogether if you plan to have a baby. You will have to stop long before you forego contraception during intercourse, so that alcohol never affects the baby in any way. It is estimated that you have to stop drinking around three months before you start trying to conceive. Then, you can be completely sure that alcohol will not affect your child in any way.
Effects of Alcohol on your Partner’s Fertility
Conception is not something that depends on just the woman- the man plays a huge role in making a baby too. So it is important to realise how important the health of your partner is, in terms of trying to conceive. Alcohol consumption definitely affects the fertility of the man too, so care must be taken in order to ensure that you get pregnant quickly.
How does alcohol affect male fertility? The effects of alcohol on the reproductive health of a man are much easier to examine, compared to the effects on a woman.
When a study was made on the health of the sperm of alcoholics, it was found that there was a significant decline in the overall condition of the sperm. For conception to occur, it is important that the sperm has enough mobility, motility and velocity. These three factors are imperative in helping the sperm reach the ovum in time for fertilization, so they play an important part in making a baby. However, it was found that all three of these factors were affected in the case of heavy drinkers, making it harder for them to create a healthy embryo.
Another study by Harvard pointed to the fact that men who consumed alcohol as less than half a bottle of wine a week had a 14% lower chance of success in procedures like IVF. This means that the sperm is less healthy and mobile, so it can contribute to infertility in a huge manner.
The discussion is not just about the sperm of the man. Alcohol also affects his performance levels during intercourse. The woman cannot get pregnant if the man does not ejaculate or even get an erection. Alcohol messes with the part of the brain that controls sex drive.
However, there is another aspect of alcohol consumption. Small levels of drinking can actually increase the chances of you getting pregnant. The amount should be small, and the alcohol must always be wine. It was found that women who consumed a little amount of wine in a consistent manner took less time to get pregnant, compared to non-drinkers. The reasons as to how alcohol can help a person get pregnant are unsure, although it might be because of the lowered inhibition levels. In many cases, infertility in the couple is caused due to stress levels. These stress levels can be lowered by consuming small quantities of wine, and the couple may start to enjoy sex more in an uninhibited manner. Therefore, small quantities may even be beneficial to you if you are trying to get pregnant.
Heavy drinking is unacceptable if you are serious about having a baby. It can affect both the man and the woman, and the combined result of these effects might be infertility. Therefore, it is best to stay away from alcohol if you are planning to have a baby. However, there is no harm in consuming a small amount if the two of you are stressed, as it may increase your sex drive and help you get pregnant.