"Oh, go on then" - the low down on drinking alcohol whilst 'trying'

I'm sure many of you have seen this article by now in the New Statesman - "Trying to get pregnant is hard enough without being told not to drink."  It seems to have generated a lot of interest on our Facebook page and hit a real nerve with patients.

Whether or not to give up alcohol is a question we are asked by patients all the time.  It's far worse at Christmas when parties and nights out are the norm rather than the exception, and also any time around weddings.  Outside of these times, it's easier to just refuse invitations and go to bed early than attend a function and have to find an excuse not to drink.

We always say "remember to have fun!".  As long as you're getting 80% of the lifestyle stuff right (especially nutrient intake and resting) then your body can usually deal with the 20% which might include alcohol, cake, chocolate, the odd bag of crisps or a day when you didn't drink much water or exercised to exhaustion.  You've got to still feel good about yourself, your life choices and your future - as women we are too good at criticising ourselves and not good enough at singing our own praises.

image: www.womansday.com

image: www.womansday.com

I know that scientists are trying to give good advice but, unless you have an alcohol addiction, there really are more important things to check first when faced with months of trying .... are your cycles regular, are you getting the right amount of nutrients, are you exercising sensibly and not to extremes, are you finding time to relax & forget about your 'to do' list, are you drinking a good amount of water and do you really know when your fertile time is (ie the signs your body show you rather than an app)?  In addition, is your partner doing all these things too?  Alcohol affects sperm in the same way as any other body cells so those couple of cans a night might need to be reconsidered - enjoyed on the occasional weekend rather than a nightly habit.

 Drinking alcohol is so much part of our lives that many people enjoy a glass or more every night - something our bodies can find hard to cope with.  We also tend to rely on alcohol to feel relaxed.  Give your body a chance by taking a break at least 4 nights of the week and drink sensibly rather than bingeing on those occasions.  When you have a drink, enjoy it and relish it as a treat.

What women (and couples) need is support, not admonition.  We need guidance rather than rules and the less finger-wagging there is, the better.  The key to it all is to enjoy the life you've got whilst looking forward to a life with a child.  Christmas, parties and weddings are part of our annual round of festivities and are important times to relax and enjoy.  If you want to have a few drinks whilst 'trying', then do and don't beat yourselves up about it afterwards.