NEWS RELEASE 8-JUN-2021
EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF HUMAN REPRODUCTION AND EMBRYOLOGY
A study of the associations between drinking alcohol and the chances of becoming pregnant suggests that women who want to conceive should avoid heavy drinking. In the second half of menstrual cycle even moderate drinking is linked to reduced chances of pregnancy.
The study, published [last Wednesday] in Human Reproduction , one of the world’s leading reproductive medicine journals, investigated alcohol intake and fecundability, which is defined as the probability of conceiving during a single menstrual cycle. It is the first study to look at this according to the different phases of women’s menstrual cycles.
Researchers led by Dr Kira Taylor, associate professor of epidemiology and population health at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (Kentucky, USA), analysed data from the Mount Sinai Study of Women Office Workers. Women aged 19-41 years were recruited between 1990 and 1994 and followed for a maximum of 19 menstrual cycles. The women completed daily diaries reporting how much alcohol they drank and what type, and they provided urine samples on the first and second day of each menstrual cycle in order to check for pregnancy.
Heavy drinking was defined as more than six alcoholic drinks a week, moderate drinking was three to six drinks a week, and binge drinking was defined as four or more drinks on a single day. Each drink consisted of a third of a litre of beer (355 millilitres), a medium glass of wine (148 millilitres), or just under a double shot of spirits (44 millilitres). The researchers collected information on factors that could affect the results, such as age, medical history, smoking, obesity, use of birth control methods and intention to become pregnant. Data on 413 women were available for the current study.
Dr Taylor said: “We found that heavy drinking during any phase of the menstrual cycle was significantly associated with a reduced probability of conception compared to non-drinkers. This is important because some women who are trying to conceive might believe it is ‘safe’ to drink during certain parts of the menstrual cycle.”
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