Alcohol in food | Alcohol during pregnancy

Alcohol in food

In principle, the expectant mother should not consume alcohol during the entire pregnancy. This also applies to alcohol in food and mixed drinks. A single accidental consumption of a food containing alcohol is unlikely to directly harm the child.

However, to avoid any risk, the expectant mother should consistently avoid alcohol. When cooking a dish, some of the alcohol boils away, but even after cooking for a long time, there may still be residual alcohol. Fruit juices or fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut) may contain small amounts of alcohol. Beverages and foods also known as “non-alcoholic” may contain residual alcohol of up to 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. Chocolate or pralines filled with liqueur or schnapps should also not be eaten.

Alcohol during the 1st month

Many women become pregnant unplanned or do not know they are pregnant in the first few weeks and are worried if they have drunk alcohol before. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the assumption is an all-or-nothing principle. This means that if the embryo is seriously damaged, either a miscarriage occurs or the damaged cells can be replaced by other cells without losing their function and the embryo can then develop normally.

As soon as expectant mothers learn of the pregnancy, they should stop drinking alcohol in order to allow the healthy development of the child. Since the child’s organs are formed in the first trimester (up to the 12th week of pregnancy), alcohol consumption in the first to third months of pregnancy is particularly dangerous because the development of the child is particularly susceptible to considerable damage at this time. In this phase, developmental disorders of the internal organs, the head, the face and the brain can occur in particular.


A safe alcohol dose for pregnancy is not known. In order to safely avoid damage to the embryo or foetus by alcohol, every pregnant woman should completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If a woman is unaware of her pregnancy in the first few weeks and has drunk a lot of alcohol during this time, an all-or-nothing principle is assumed.

Developmental disorders and impairments of the growing child through alcohol intake during pregnancy are manifold. They can be physical (including growth, organ formation and development), but also mental, psychological and social (including intelligence impairment, speech disorders, aggressive behaviour, epilepsy). In the case of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), the damage is permanent and usually cannot be treated.

Furthermore, it should not be neglected that, in addition to alcohol, smoking during pregnancy can also cause great damage to the child and that smoking must be avoided during pregnancy. Furthermore, it should not be neglected that, in addition to alcohol, smoking during pregnancy can also cause great harm to the child and that smoking must also be avoided during pregnancy.