Understanding the Risks of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

May 16, 2023
Tripti Mohan – May 16, 2023
Red Wine during Pregnancy. Is it Safe copy

Pregnancy is a time in a person’s life that they cherish and take extreme care…

Pregnancy is a time in a person’s life that they cherish and take extreme care of. Your body is now home to one or more lives, and the onus of its well-being largely lies with you.

Effects of Red Wine on Fetal Development

There are some foods and beverages that a pregnant person is expected to avoid from their diet because they may have adverse effects on the fetus. Drinking, smoking, or any other substance abuse is a strict no-no. We all know alcohol consumption during pregnancy is not good for the baby.

However, there is speculation that it is fine to have a glass of red wine moderately. What do you think about that?
Let’s see if it is true so that you can make an informed decision.

Potential Benefits of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

Red wine is made from dark-colored grapes by crushing and fermenting them. It has about 12-15% alcohol content. The discussions of red wine having health benefits if consumed moderately are always on.

Potential Benefits of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

Here, we will be going through some potential benefits of drinking red wine during pregnancy.

  • Antioxidants and Polyphenols in Red Wine: The dark grapes used to make red wine are rich in many antioxidants like resveratrol and proanthocyanidins that have therapeutic effects. These polyphenols are said to be effective against diseases like diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s apart from arthritis and skin inflammation.
  • Cardiovascular Health Benefits: Proanthocyanidins in red wine are found to protect you from heart diseases and increase the level of good cholesterol.
  • Reduction in Risk of Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia occurs in pregnant people due to high blood pressure. The antioxidants in the wine could help prevent hypertension.

Risks of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

There is no doubt when we say that the risks of drinking red wine during pregnancy outweigh the potential benefits of it. There is a strong backing of doctors and researchers that say no amount of alcohol should be consumed by expecting mothers. Some of the major risks involved are given here:

Risks of Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

When alcohol consumed by a mother reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord, it exposes the child to FASD. FASDs could be both external as well as neurodevelopmental disorders.

There is a potential for long-term developmental issues. The baby could have

  • Low Weight
  • Sleeplessness
  • Poor Coordination
  • Vision/Hearing Problems
  • Abnormal Facial Features
  • Low IQ
  • Problems with internal organs like the heart, kidneys, or even bones.

Increased Risk of Miscarriage and Stillbirth

The benefits of red wine can normally impact a body only if it is taken moderately and not occasionally. However, a moderate amount of red wine is a huge risk for pregnant people. No researchers have been able to find the appropriate or safe amount of red wine that can be consumed during pregnancy. If consumed in excess, there is a high possibility of miscarriage or stillbirth.


Effects on Placenta and Fetal Growth

Blood passes through your placenta to the fetus. Exposure to alcohol in the mother’s bloodstream can cause placental dysfunction including a decrease in the size of the placenta, impaired nutrient transport, and blood flow to the fetus. This could directly impact fetal growth and lead to stillbirth.


Effect on breastfeeding

The presence of alcohol in the mother’s body even before beginning to breastfeed, could cause a decrease in milk. It could also lead to irregular sleep patterns and difficulty sleeping in the infant.

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions About Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

There are some myths and misconceptions about drinking red wine during pregnancy. Most doctors always say that you should not have any amount of alcohol when pregnant. However, some myths could confuse pregnant people. Here we are, debunking some of those misconceptions!

The lady is drinking red wine during pregnancy

“A glass of red wine a day is safe”
It is often debated that a small quantity of red wine or any alcohol cannot harm your fetus. The truth is that your body may not be affected by one glass of wine in a day, but your baby’s body is not yet capable of digesting or processing any amount of alcohol. So, No! It is not safe to have a glass of red wine every day while you are pregnant.

“Red Wine is healthier than other alcoholic beverages”
Probably in an article about healthier alcohol, this may be true. But in the case of pregnant people, it is not. Red wine has 12-15% alcohol content which can be harmful to the baby.

“Drinking red wine during pregnancy is common in Europe”
It may be, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do! If we haven’t said it enough already, here it is again- taking alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, whiskey, vodka, or whatever it may be, is not safe during pregnancy.

Make Informed Choices About Drinking During Pregnancy

Pregnancy demands the utmost care for the mother and the fetus. How the mother avoids harmful fruits, beverages, and activities during pregnancy is not only beneficial for easy childbirth but also for the child’s development. As a mother, you need to be aware of the potential consequences of having alcohol for yourself and your baby.

You must Avoid red wine during pregnancy

Consider talking to your doctor and obstetrician if you have any questions regarding what you can have. Every pregnancy is different. Ideally, do not take random advice from friends or relatives and act accordingly. Something that may have worked during their pregnancy may not work for you. Just because Serena Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant, you may not be able to do it. It also doesn’t mean that you cannot. But avoid taking risks.

Before or during your pregnancy take time to assess personal risk factors and drinking habits. Abstinence is the best and safest way to go in the case of drinking red wine during pregnancy. If you are not able to control yourself from drinking, you may be having a deeper problem. Seek help from qualified professionals!

Alternatives to Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

For many people, having a glass of red wine at the end of the day is to relax and destress. Well, alcohol is not the only way you can do that. Take some time to explore and understand what helps you lighten your mood and make it a new habit. It could be meditation, reading, listening to music, taking a shower, or going for a walk in your backyard.

Alternatives methods  to Drinking Red Wine During Pregnancy

If you feel left out on a special occasion, try asking for mocktails or a healthy juice to replace that drink. Also, surround yourself with lovely people who would be happy to fix that mocktail for you!

Is your excuse to have red wine during pregnancy due to the presence of antioxidants and polyphenols in it? Well, there are other sources for those such as vegetables, cereals, fruit juices, tea, dry legumes, etc.

The Bottom Line

To make it sound fair and professional, we may ask you to make an informed decision since you know the pros and cons of drinking red wine during pregnancy. But whether you like it or not, the bottom line is that if you are pregnant, you must stay away from drinking red wine. There is a very tiny probability of it being beneficial to you, while a very high chance of it being harmful to your fetus.

  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/facts.html

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