1 September 2016
Studies have shown that more than one drink per day during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight, foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and preterm birth.
Before now, no scientific evidence has linked infertility in women to consumption of alcohol.
While avoiding alcohol to improve chances of conception is a sensible recommendation, the association between pre-conception alcohol intake and the time taken to become pregnant has not been documented in great detail.
A team of Danish researchers designed a prospective cohort study to re-examine the association.
The team used data from 6,120 females aged between 21 years and 45 years. All participants were in stable relationships and actively trying to become pregnant. None was involved in fertility treatments.
Alcohol was measured in standard servings – 1 – 3, 4 – 7, 8 – 13, and 14 or more units per week; they also collated information about the specific type of alcohol – beer, red or white wine, dessert wine, or spirits.
Participants completed questionnaires twice a month for 1 year, or until conception occurred; the researchers asked them questions regarding pregnancy status, alcohol use, menstrual cycles, frequency of intercourse, and smoking.
Overall, 4,210 participants (69 per cent) achieved pregnancy during the study.
Women in the highest alcohol consumption group (14 units or more per week) had 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles, and those who did not drink had 1,381 pregnancies in 8,054 cycles. These figures equate to an 18 per cent decrease in the probability that the women would conceive.
The researchers concluded that when these types of alcohol – beer, wine, spirits – were accounted for, there were no measurable differences in the ability to conceive.
Another concern raised by the researchers is that, the partner’s alcohol consumption was not measured.
As alcohol is known to affect sperm count in males, this could have been another influencing factor.
It is recommended that women trying to conceive and their partners should keep away from alcohol consumption. Source: MNT
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.