It can happen to anyone. Maybe you weren’t trying to get pregnant, but now you’ve missed a period after a night out with your partner. Or perhaps you already know you’re pregnant, but a friend convinced you that a glass of wine (or two) early on would be fine. Whatever your situation, you may be worried about the potential harm of drinking during pregnancy.

We understand how scary this can be, but you don’t have to remain uncertain! Bakersfield Pregnancy Center is here to answer all your questions, judgment-free. Today, we’re exploring what can happen if you drink early in and during pregnancy.


Can Alcohol Affect a Pregnancy Test?

If you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms, the first step is to take a pregnancy test. However, if you’ve been drinking recently, you may wonder if alcohol could affect your results.

The short answer is no, alcohol itself doesn’t affect pregnancy test results. However, alcohol can cause dehydration, making you want to drink more water. Excess water can dilute your urine, making it difficult for the pregnancy test to detect your hCG levels, which could produce an inaccurate result [1]. If you’ve been drinking recently, allow your fluid intake to return to normal before taking a pregnancy test for accurate results.

Don’t want to take this first step alone? Consider visiting Bakersfield Pregnancy Center! We offer free pregnancy tests and free ultrasounds so you can confirm your pregnancy in a confidential, compassionate environment.


What Happens if I Drank a Little Before I Knew I Was Pregnant?

The good news is that drinking a little in early pregnancy is unlikely to cause harm [2]! However, you need to stop drinking immediately once you confirm the pregnancy. The sooner you stop drinking, the healthier your baby will be [3]! Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns and attend regular prenatal checkups to monitor the health and development of your pregnancy.


How Much Alcohol Can You Drink While Pregnant?

Although a small amount of alcohol early in pregnancy isn’t usually a major concern, it’s crucial to stop drinking to prevent any alcohol-related problems from developing later on. There’s no “safe amount” of alcohol to drink while pregnant. Even if you don’t drink often, drinking a lot in one sitting can be very dangerous [3]. Additionally, there’s no “safe kind” of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, including beer, wine, and mixed drinks [4].

Alcohol appears to be the most harmful during the first three months of pregnancy, but drinking at any point during pregnancy is still very risky [3]. The best thing to do is to avoid alcohol entirely for the rest of your pregnancy!


How Much Alcohol Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Can Drinking Alcohol Cause a Miscarriage?

Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences. For example, drinking heavily (more than two drinks a day) increases the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome [3]. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage [3].

Each of these conditions is entirely avoidable if a baby isn’t exposed to alcohol in the womb. If you want to maintain a healthy pregnancy but can’t stop drinking, there are ways to get help! Contact your doctor or local alcohol treatment center to get started.


Can I Drink if I’m Planning on Getting an Abortion?

You should still avoid alcohol even if you’re considering abortion in California. Alcohol thins the blood, inhibiting your body’s ability to clot and control bleeding [5]. Drinking before or after an abortion significantly increases the risk of excessive bleeding [5], which would require emergency treatment.

We also encourage you to explore all your pregnancy options and receive an ultrasound before an abortion. This will help you make the most informed decision for your health and future.


Free Pregnancy Services in Bakersfield, CA

We get it—an unplanned pregnancy can be stressful enough without the fear that something has already gone wrong. You aren’t in this alone. Bakersfield Pregnancy Center provides free pregnancy services so that you can get the care and support you deserve!

We are a CDPH-licensed Primary Care free clinic and will never profit off of the choice you make. Schedule your appointment today!

Please be aware that Bakersfield Pregnancy Center does not provide or refer for abortion services.


  1. Common foods and drinks: What can affect a pregnancy test result? Clearblue. (2022, September 29). Retrieved from
  2. Alcohol and Women. ACOG | American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021, December). Retrieved from
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2022, January 10). Alcohol and pregnancy. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from
  4. Alcohol and Pregnancy Questions and Answers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, November 14). Retrieved from
  5. Ballard, H. S. (1997). The Hematological Complications of Alcoholism. Alcohol Health and Research World. Retrieved from
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