Health Advice



Miscarriage and alcohol

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The list of court cases that can legitimately be called miscarriages of justice is long and upsetting. For an early example, you can go as far back as 399 B.C. in Greece, when Socrates was made to drink poison hemlock as punishment for "corrupting the youth of Athens and impiety." Scholars today say it was more likely punishment for the mistaken idea that he was in cahoots with enemies of Athens.

Miscarriages during pregnancy are, unfortunately, even more common. One metastudy in 2018 found that over half of all conceptions are spontaneously terminated by the body. Many are undetected. That's because most miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks after conception, often before a woman knows she's pregnant.

A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology shines a light on one possible cause: Researchers tracked the drinking habits of 5,353 pregnant women. They discovered that each week during the first five to 10 weeks of pregnancy that a woman consumes any amount or type of alcohol, there's a cumulative 8% increase in the risk of miscarriage. Drink for three weeks in a row, your risk goes up 24%.

The study also showed most women don't stop drinking until the fetus's median gestational age is 29 days and only 41% stop within three days of finding out they're pregnant.

Clearly, if you're trying to conceive, it's important to stop drinking before you want to become pregnant and to use home pregnancy tests to detect conception as early as possible.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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