Preparing for pregnancy - Alcohol and drugs


The maximum recommended alcohol intake during pregnancy is up to 2 units once or twice a week. Although it is thought that giving up alcohol completely when pregnant is better.

A unit of alcohol is as follows:

  • 1 pint standard lager or beer
  • 1 100ml glass of wine
  • ½ pint of strong beer or cider
  • 25ml spirits
  • Pub measure of fortified wine such as port or sherry

Drinking too much alcohol during pregnancy can cause the following problems:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Low birth weight
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome; which includes problems of learning difficulties, sight and hearing problems.

Call Alcohol Concern on 020 7298 7377


Drugs cross the placenta and affect the baby. They can cause the following problems:

  • Withdrawal in the newborn baby
  • Harm the baby’s growth and development.
  • Premature birth
  • Miscarriage
  • Cot death
  • Heart problems
  • Birth defects
  • Death

Parents who take drugs can struggle to care for their baby’s properly, suffer from depression and struggle to bond with their baby.

To get help, information and advice on alcohol and drug use you can call Narconon UK on 0800 1694 803 or see