Women who want to get pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences discovered that drinking a lot during ovulation was associated with significantly reduced chances of conception.
The team of experts analysed data from the Mount Sinai Study of Women Office Workers, which collected information from more than 400 women aged 19 to 41, between the years of 1990 and 1994 and followed for up to 19 menstrual cycles.
They completed daily diaries reporting how much alcohol they drank and what type, and provided urine samples on the first and second day of each menstrual cycle.
According to the study, heavy drinking was defined as more than six alcoholic drinks a week, moderate drinking was three to six drinks a week, and binge drinking was defined as four or more drinks on a single day.
Heavy drinking on any day of the menstrual cycle was significantly associated with a reduced probability of conception compared to non-drinkers, especially during the luteal phase, which is the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle.
"At the time of ovulation, usually around day 14 of the cycle, consuming a lot of alcohol – either heavy or binge drinking – was significantly associated with reduced chances of conception," study leader Dr Kira Taylor explained.
Moderate and heavy drinking during the luteal phase was linked to a reduction in the odds of conceiving by about 44 per cent, and consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a week during ovulation was associated with 61 per cent reduced odds of becoming pregnant.
And each extra day of binge drinking was associated with a 19 per cent reduction in the odds of conceiving during the luteal phase, and 41 per cent during ovulation.
However, Taylor has urged caution.
"Our study only included a few hundred women and, while we believe the results strongly suggest that heavy and even moderate alcohol intake affects the ability to conceive, the exact percentages and numbers should be viewed as rough estimates," she added.