Medical Q&As

Conception - alcohol/cigarettes?

I'm just back from a holiday where I consumed a lot of alcohol every night 8/9 units a day and smoked a lot also. I now realise that I conceived just before I went away. Could permanent damage be done to my baby because of these 2 weeks of drinking and smoking?

It is very difficult for me to give you the absolute reassurance that you are clearly seeking. Nine units of alcohol per day is approximately one and a half standard bottle of wine, which means that you would have consumed approximately two cases of wine over the duration of your holiday. This is way in excess of the recommended upper level of alcohol consumption for a young woman, leaving aside any consideration of pregnancy. However the developing foetus can be extraordinarily robust and on the balance of probability your baby should be quite healthy despite your high consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. The evidence suggests that the foetus can be affected by alcohol and cigarette consumption that is sustained throughout the pregnancy. Your baby will probably be fine but maybe you should curtail alcohol and preferably stop smoking from here on.