Pregnancy is a time of joyful anticipation and careful consideration, prompting expectant mothers to make mindful decisions to ensure their well-being and that of their developing babies. Amidst this, questions about the safety of consuming beverages like no/low alcohol beer, wine, and spirits arise.
What are no/low alcohol drinks?
No/low alcohol beverages offer the essence of traditional drinks with significantly reduced alcohol content. Typically, these options contain 0.5% ABV or less, a clear distinction from their alcoholic counterparts. This unique composition brings to light the discussion around their safety during pregnancy.
Is it safe?
Concerns regarding alcohol consumption during pregnancy stem from potential adverse effects on fetal development. Instances of excessive alcohol consumption have been associated with a range of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). This prompts the need to understand the safety of no/low alcohol options for expectant mothers.
What does the research say?
Research into the effects of consuming no/low alcohol beverages during pregnancy remains limited due to its relatively uncharted territory. While experts generally recommend abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy due to uncertainties surrounding safe thresholds, it's crucial to acknowledge that alcohol, even in trace amounts, is present in various everyday consumables.
Low traces of alcohol can be found naturally occurring in a range of foods, such as ripe fruits and certain fermented products like bread. These minimal amounts are a result of the fermentation process and, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, are typically considered safe. Such naturally occurring traces are far below what would be considered a standard drink.
What should expectant mothers do?
Given the cautious approach to alcohol during pregnancy, expectant mothers might find themselves seeking alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. For those considering no/low alcohol options, consulting with a healthcare provider is advisable to make an informed decision based on individual circumstances.
While caution remains paramount, some expectant mothers might opt for an occasional indulgence in no/low alcohol beverages. If this choice is made, doing so mindfully, in moderation, and with awareness of the alcohol content can help strike a balance between personal enjoyment and maternal well-being.
Alcohol-alternatives - safe options for consideration
For those who prefer to avoid any trace of alcohol, look for the alcohol alternatives. These are drinks with 0% ABV, not made to mimic alcohol, not made through the process to produce an alcoholic drink and de-alcoholised after.
- Hop water (hop-infused sparkling water)
- Mother Root - Switchel (created by a mother when she was pregnant with her first child and wanted an adult drink)
- Feragaia (an award-winning botanical alcohol free spirit)
- Tanqueray 0.0% (alcohol free gin)
- Gordon's Alcohol-Free Gin (alcohol free gin)
The journey of pregnancy calls for a blend of choice and caution. While no/low alcohol options can present a nuanced choice for expectant mothers, the overarching recommendation is to prioritise caution and consult healthcare providers before making any decisions. As we explore the landscape of beverages during this special time, embracing the array of alcohol-free choices ensures a delightful and worry-free experience, contributing to the health and happiness of both mother and baby.