LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new study says alcohol affects a woman's ability to get pregnant.

The University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences study published in this week's "Human Production" suggests women who want to conceive should avoid alcohol in the last two weeks of the menstrual cycle. Researchers say alcohol could prevent an egg from being released during ovulation or affect a fertilized egg's ability to implant in the womb.

Researcher Kira Taylor, PhD, and her team analyzed data from more than 400 women for up to 19 months. The women completed daily diaries reporting how much alcohol they drank and what type.

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. A drink was defined as a third of a liter of beer, a medium glass of wine or just under a double shot of spirits. The researchers collected information on factors that could affect the results, such as age, medical history, smoking, obesity, intercourse frequency, use of birth control methods and intention to become pregnant.

Each extra day of binge drinking was associated with an approximate 19% reduction in the odds of conceiving during the luteal phase and a 41% reduction during the ovulatory phase. The researchers found no difference in their results between different types of drinks. The influence of drinking by male partners was not assessed.

This is the first study to evaluate alcohol's impact on specific phases of the menstrual cycle. Researchers say it's important to note that drinking alcohol does not prevent pregnancy and should not be a means of birth control.

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