Intended for healthcare professionals


Alcohol consumption for women trying to conceive

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 31 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4540
  1. Annie Britton, reader in epidemiology
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
  1. a.britton{at}

Cutting down together is sensible, but abstinence is unnecessary

In Britain, approximately 12.5% of women experience difficulty trying to conceive within 12 months,1 and rates are similar in other developed countries.2 Infertility can be a devastating experience for couples, with high levels of psychological strain and even risk of suicide.3 This can result in millions of women going through a heart breaking, all consuming process, who will inevitably look for lifestyle modifications, including their alcohol consumption, to improve their chances of having a baby.

The paper by Mikkelsen and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.i4262) will offer some reassurances.4 In a prospective study of more than 6000 Danish women from the general population who were trying to get pregnant, they found that those who were drinking up …

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