What to Do if You Drink When Trying for a Baby

When you’re trying to conceive, staying away from all alcohol seems impossible, especially if you’ve been trying for years.  The reality is that you’ll likely have an occasional glass of wine.

So when drinking alcohol while trying to get pregnant, what can you do to reduce the effects of alcohol on your fertility and the health of your eggs?  Simple steps to take before, during, and after the event can decrease the amount of alcohol you consume and its effects.

Although practical tips reduce the impact of alcohol on your fertility, understanding the big picture may help make complete (or near 100%) abstinence more attainable.

Should You Drink When Trying to Get Pregnant?

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when you’re struggling with staying dry while everyone else around you has a glass of wine in their hand.

1. Would I drink if I were pregnant now?

With any questionable practice during the pre-conception period, ask yourself if it’s something that you would do WHEN you’re pregnant.

Often, that answer makes it very clear what your choice should be.

What you do DURING pregnancy generally applies when you’re TRYING to get pregnant.

Most people think of them as two different and separate stages – pre-conception coming before pregnancy.

However, they’re on the same continuum.  Which means if you reverse engineer the result of a healthy baby, the path to that outcome shows you what actions you should be taking to get there.

Know that the choices you make when pregnant will also help you GET pregnant in the first place.

Besides that, you have the rest of your life to drink to your heart’s content.  In contrast, your fertile window period is short and limited.

2. Why is drinking so important to me?

This question requires complete honesty with yourself because the answer is often uncomfortable and, probably a little shameful, to admit.

People often drink to feel accepted…part of the crowd.

Peer pressure is a powerful director of behavior – often negative because it silences your inner voice guiding you to your truth.

The fertility journey is a lonely road where you feel like you’re making a lot of sacrifices in order to achieve something that comes so seemingly easy for others.

Therein lies the problem.

People often think of the changes needed to improve fertility as things they have to give up for something less pleasurable.

Instead, reframe them as conscious choices you’re making.

The difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t” is powerful.

Telling yourself and others “I can’t drink alcohol” means you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.  Which makes you want it even more. Your brain tricks you like that.

A simple rephrasing to “I don’t drink alcohol because I want my best chances of getting pregnant with a healthy baby.” turns an act of limitation to a CHOICE of abstinence.

Or to others, you can simply say “I don’t drink alcohol for better health.”

It’s really sometimes as easy as that.

3. Is alcohol REALLY that bad for me?


Alcohol raises your estrogen levels which worsens symptoms of PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, thyroid problems like hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Graves – and any other estrogen-dominant health issue.

For men with poor sperm quality, the excess estrogen from alcohol will further impair optimal sperm production.

Alcohol IS a toxin.

ALL alcohol is broken down in the human body and first converted to acetaldehyde, a poison that’s more toxic than the original form of alcohol itself, by up to 30 times!

Acetaldehyde can damage cells and DNA.  Including those in your eggs.

Acetaldehyde is then further metabolized in the mitochondria, the “power plants” of the cell.  In the egg, mitochondria provide the energy needed for healthy functions like fertilization, implantation, and growth into an embryo.  Because acetaldehyde is processed in the mitochondria, alcohol consumption can damage existing mitochondria, potentially worsening egg quality.

Unfortunately, as you age, your body is less efficient at detoxifying from the alcohol.  Your recovery is slower. Your tolerance is lower.

If you get any symptoms of alcohol toxicity such as facial redness, headaches, increased heart rate or any general discomfort, your body is telling you to STOP!  You have reached your tolerance level and your body cannot handle any more alcohol.

Many people inherit genes that prevent them from processing alcohol properly.  Although relatively rare in Caucasians, these genes are found in about 40% of East Asians (including Chinese, Japanese, Koreans).

If you have a known alcohol intolerance, 100% abstinence is important when trying to get pregnant.

Decode Your DNA to Know How You React to Alcohol

Your DNA will give you an indication of your alcohol tolerance level.

Sequencing your DNA is easily accessible now.  The information encoded in your genes can guide you on your fertility journey to making better choices. Use a service like 23andMe or Ancestry.com that provides your raw DNA data file.

By adhering to your inherited limitations, your body will be less stressed in processing foods it can’t handle.

Less stress means increased fertility.

In your raw data file, search for “rs671” on Chromosome 12.

Because you get one copy of this gene from your mom and another from your dad, the gene you have is identified by a 2 letter combination.

If you have at least 1 copy of the A variant of rs671, you cannot metabolize alcohol properly and should stop while you’re trying to get pregnant.

Three possible genetic combinations exist:

  • GG – normal alcohol metabolism…Lucky you!
  • AG – poor alcohol metabolism…Tread carefully!
  • AA – Avoid alcohol!  The worst of the 3 combinations, you’re at only about 8% as efficient as GG individuals at converting acetaldehyde into less harmful compounds so the acetaldehyde stays in your body longer, causing more damage.

In the end, you have to be alright with the decision you make regarding alcohol.  If you decide to drink, own it.  Don’t carry the guilt forward.  Instead, enjoy your night and commit to doing better the next day.

If you decide to drink, here are some practical tips that can reduce alcohol’s effects on your fertility and egg quality.

Know when are better times to drink when TTC


  • If you are doing a fertility treatment like IVF or insemination, don’t drink at all once you start your medications until you get the results of your pregnancy test.
  • If trying to get pregnant naturally, there are times during the month when it’s more or less risky to drink.From day 1 of your menses until ovulation is a better time to drink than after ovulation when you don’t know you’re pregnant.How can alcohol affect you after ovulation?

    Alcohol is an irritant as you’ve experienced when you used it as a disinfectant on an open wound.  Depending on your alcohol level, it might irritate your uterine lining during the time of implantation.

    Alcohol is also known to disrupt the physical structure of cell membranes so it may prevent development of a fertilized egg into a healthy embryo.

    Alcohol has been shown to inhibit cell growth.  If fertilization occurs, alcohol may prevent the fertilized egg from making new proteins for the embryo, preventing it from dividing into more cells and stopping a pregnancy in its tracks.


  • It’s better to abstain from alcohol at least 1 week BEFORE you expect to ovulate so that his sperm are at their best in preparation for their trip to your egg.
  • During your menses and AFTER ovulation is a better time for him to drink.
  • He also should refrain from drinking completely when you are in an active medicated cycle.

Choose less toxic alcohol when trying to get pregnant

Not all alcohol is created equally.

Impurities produced by the fermentation process to create your alcoholic beverage of choice contribute to the taste, aroma, and color of your drink.  However, they’re toxic as well. So the more that’s removed by filtration and distillation, the better.

Choose clear liquors.  

Vodka, gin, and sake would be the better choices in that regard.  Beer, unfortunately, is the worst with the most toxins. And red wine isn’t a whole lot better.

Although spirits have higher alcohol content, people tend to nurse those drinks longer.  The result is that they consume less alcohol throughout the night as compared to several glasses of wine or cans of beer.

Sugar and carbonation also speeds up the absorption of alcohol.  So use less sugar or stevia-sweetened soda in mixed drinks.

Supplements to support alcohol detoxification

Having these supplements in your medicine cabinet can help your body eliminate alcohol more quickly.


  • Because alcohol causes dehydration, start with a glass of water BEFORE drinking.  Alternate alcohol and water throughout the evening. After you stop drinking, drink at least one glass of water before bed.
  • Adding a sugar-free electrolyte powder to your water, electrolyte water, or coconut water is a good alternative to water.  They add back electrolytes that are lost from the increased urine output due to the alcohol.

Activated coconut charcoal

  • Charcoal has been used for centuries as a detoxifier.  It can attract and bind the alcohol so that it’s eliminated more quickly.
  • Drink a glass of water and 1 capsule of activated coconut charcoal  after every serving of alcohol. At the very least, hydrate with water after every glass.  Water will keep you full so you’re less likely to drink as much.


  • Glutathione is needed to convert acetaldehyde into a non-toxic compound similar to vinegar that your body can eliminate.  However, when drinking, the liver can’t keep up with the glutathione demand causing the acetaldehyde to build up in the body.  Supplementing with glutathione can speed up alcohol metabolism.
  • Drink a glass of water and 500-1000mg of liposomal glutathione before and after drinking.

Related Questions

Can my male partner drink while we’re trying to get pregnant?

In an ideal world, men should avoid alcohol as well, especially if he’s over 40yo.  Just as eggs are susceptible to the damaging effects of alcohol, so are his sperm. The reality is that he’s probably going to drink a lot more than you would like him to.  If this happens, focus on what you need to do to improve your fertility and let it go.  He’s an adult and makes his own choices.

Do you have any recommendations for a specific drink?

Why, yes, I do!

Enjoy this wonderful eggnog recipe provided by Bulletproof Blog all year round as a dessert drink, not just the holidays.  Without the alcohol, this drink packs a powerful dose of protein and healthy fats to turbocharge your eggs.



  • 4 pastured raw, pasture-raised egg yolks
  • 1 can BPA-free organic coconut milk
  • 1 tsp organic nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground organic Madagascar vanilla
  • 2 tbsp sweetener (choose xylitol, erythritol, stevia, or monkfruit)
  • 4 beaten egg whites (beat these before you combine and blend)
  • bourbon (optional)

Combine all ingredients and blend until creamy!

If eggnog is too rich, consider an Irish coffee.  Counter the whiskey with some fertility-boosting maca.

Irish Coffee


  • 1 cup hot organic coffee (I recommend the Bulletproof brand of coffee because they test their beans for mold which is a common problem in coffee beans)
  • Irish whiskey, 1.5 oz (3 tbsp) or less
  • 1 tbsp sweetener (stevia, monkfruit extract, erythritol, xylitol)
  • Raw, heavy cream or coconut cream – whipped
  • Optional: 1 tbsp organic, raw cacao (NOT cocoa) powder for a mocha taste and a dose of antioxidants
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp organic maca powder


  1. Preheat Irish Coffee mug with hot water and empty.
  2. Pour hot coffee into warmed mug until it is about 3/4 full.
  3. Stir in other ingredients until well mixed.
  4. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream.
  5. Serve hot.


  1. Ask your girlfriend(s) to join you in a 30-day break from alcohol to improve your overall health.
  2. Calculate the amount of money you would have spent on drinks and use that towards a spa treatment.
  3. Send me a picture of what you did as your reward.