(Does moderate alcohol consumption affect fertility? Follow up study among couples planning first pregnancy)
Women who are trying to conceive should avoid drinking any alcohol, warns Dr Tina Kold Jensen from the National University Hospital in Denmark along with colleagues from Aarhus University Hospital in this week's BMJ. Although it has been known for some time that women who drink heavily take longer to become pregnant, the authors report that even women who drink five or less units per week are affected.
The researchers studied 430 Danish couples aged 20 - 35 years, who were trying to conceive for the first time. They found that even after adjusting for factors such as smoking, diseases in female reproductive organs, sperm counts and female weight, women drinking five units or less a week were twice as likely to conceive within six months than women drinking ten units or more.
The authors conclude that their findings were unexpected and suggest that further research be undertaken to corroborate the results. However in the meantime they feel it would be reasonable to encourage women to reduce their intake of alcohol, or not to drink at all when they are trying to become pregnant.
Dr Tina Kold Jenson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Growth and Reproduction, National University Hospital, Righospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark