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Strong Spirit Strong Mind

What Women Need to Know

What women need to know about alcohol

Women and Alcohol:

Our way of being healthy is to look after ourselves by making good choices, and to care for our family, community and culture.

When we use alcohol and other drugs in harmful ways our spirit becomes weaker and our thinking gets tangled. But if we stop or reduce our use, our spirit can grow strong and our thinking becomes clear again.

Diagram of the Female body organs
Brain damage, stroke, memory loss, blackouts, hallucinations, fits, confusion, dementia, mental health problems, depression, anxiety and mood swings
Nervous System
Tingling, numbness and loss of feeling
Irregular pulse, high blood pressure, becomes enlarged
Damaged and swollen, cirrhosis, hepatitis, cancer
Reduced function and increased infections
Colon & Rectum
Chronic coughing and cancer
Infertility and risk of sexually transmitted infections and blood borne viruses from unsafe sex
Reduced resistance to infection, coughs, colds, risk of pneumonia and tuberculosis
Increased risk of cancer
Weak, loose muscle tissue
Ulcers, inflammation, vomiting and diarrhoea
Risk of harm to unborn baby

Associated Harm for Women:

Alcohol affects women differently than men, women absorb more alcohol and take longer to metabolize it leading to women having higher blood alcohol levels when drinking. These differences make women more susceptible to the long-term negative health effects of alcohol compared with men.

Impacts on the liver, brain and heart:

  • The risk of alcohol related liver diseases is higher for woman than men. 
  • Alcohol can harm the brain including cognitive issues like; problems concentrating, problems with memory, issues developing.
  • Women who drink excessively have an increased risk for damage to their heart muscle.

Breast cancer:

  • There is an increased chance of developing breast cancer when there is an increased alcohol intake.
  • This is through the way alcohol changes your hormone levels and the metabolism of a harmful chemical in alcohol called ethanol. 
  • Studies show that women who consume about 1 drink per day have a 5 to 9 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.


  • Drinking alcohol can affect your body's ability to get pregnant. 
  • Even light drinking make it harder to get pregnant and increase the risk of complications.
  • Alcohol use is also associated with higher chance of miscarriages.

There is no safe amount of alcohol and other drug use in pregnancy.

Our children need to be born healthy so they have a a strong spirit and a strong mind.

Pregnant woman eating

Healthy choices for pregnancy

Not drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and using drugs is the best choice for your baby. Other things you can do to stay healthy and grow a strong baby include:

  • Regular check-ups with your health worker
  • Daily exercise or physical activity
  • Lots of sleep and rest
  • Plenty of healthy food and water
  • Yarning with grannies, aunties, mums, sisters, cousins and friends about how to keep your baby strong and healthy
The placenta protects baby from your alcohol and other drug use. During pregnancy, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and other drugs (including prescribed medication) can pass through the placenta to the baby. These substances can affect the development of baby's inner spirit and physical health.
For more information

If you are thinking about reducing your alcohol use you might like some help or information.

If you are worried about somebody and how their alcohol use is affecting you and your family, perhaps you would like some help.

It may not be easy reducing your alcohol use but your friends, family and other people in your community can support you to make changes.

If you would like further information, please head to our services and support page: