Alcohol and Pregnancy

Understanding Alcohol and Pregnancy. All information in this section has been supplied by NHS Ayrshire and Arran. For full documents please see further information.

Information supplied by NHS Ayrshire & Arran.


Understanding Alcohol and Pregnancy

Whether you are pregnant, or trying for a baby, it’s important to remember that drinking alcohol while pregnant can put your baby at risk.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong condition that results from a baby being exposed to alcohol before birth. This exposure to alcohol can affect how the baby’s brain and body can develop. If you are a pregnant woman who needs support to stop drinking, contact your midwife or doctor.


No alcohol, no risk.

The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline states that:

  • If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.
  • Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink, the greater the risk.

The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women (who are not planning a pregnancy) is that:

  • You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.
  • If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.

When can alcohol damage the developing baby?

Understanding Alcohol Units Information and Guidance