How Does Alcohol Relate to Birth Control? Connect the Dots

Did you know that if a woman consumes four alcoholic drinks at one time, it is considered “binge drinking?” People overdo it sometimes… now you know.

But consider this: 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Let’s face it, binge drinking can lead you to do things you normally wouldn’t do—like have unprotected sex.

girl with her fingers crossed in a "no" positionJust one episode of unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy, especially if you are not on birth control.

If you become pregnant and continue to drink alcohol, it is the same as pouring alcohol into the bloodstream of your unborn baby. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, when the fetus is starting to develop. Alcohol consumption during this time can result in lifelong birth defects like fetal alcohol syndrome, which is marked by small head and brain size, distinctive facial features, physical deformities, mental retardation, learning disorders, and abnormal behavior.

See the facial features associated with fetal alcohol syndrome

Think before you drink, and connect the dots. If you regularly binge drink, make sure you use birth control. If you’re trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant, don’t drink at all.

Learn about alcohol-related birth defects

What Happens to YOU when you binge drink?

  • You gain weight. If you binge drink regularly, you may even gain lots of weight. There are about 150 calories in a 12-ounce can of beer, 300 calories in an average mixed drink like a vodka tonic, and margaritas contain about 750 calories! When you binge, it all adds up—big time.
  • Your appearance loses its spark. After alcohol has invaded your system, people can usually tell. Your face and body take on a puffy, bloated look, your eyes appear baggy and bloodshot, your hair is dull and unkempt, and the pain your body may feel shows easily in the way you carry yourself.
  • Your risk for contracting STDs goes way up. The more you drink, the riskier your behavior, and the more likely you are to have unprotected sex—which can lead directly to HIV/AIDS and other STDs. It only takes one time.
  • Memory loss. Short-term, you may experience blackouts—that is, functioning like a conscious person while you are drunk but having no memory of what you did the next day (which can lead to decisions that damage your reputation and your health). Research shows that binge drinking can lead to long-term memory damage, too.
  • Letting yourself and others down. Abusing alcohol regularly quickly changes your priorities. When alcohol takes over, it does not seem so important to fulfill your personal responsibilities or meet obligations to friends and family, and you are much more likely to engage in physically dangerous activities (like drinking and driving).