Study: Fathers Should Also Skip Alcohol
A new study says both parents should stop alcohol use prior to conception to protect the baby from developing congenital heart disease.
Previous studies have always focused on mothers’ alcohol use when it comes to babies developing congenital heart disease. This is the first study to take fathers’ alcohol use also into consideration.
The study found:
- Babies have a 44% increased risk of congenital heart disease when their father used alcohol three months before conception, compared to babies whose dads did not use alcohol.
- When the mothers used alcohol during this time period or during the first trimester, babies had a 16% increased risk of disease.
- Binge alcohol use was related to a 52% higher likelihood of having a child with birth defects among men and 16% among women.
- Compared to abstinence, maternal alcohol use was correlated to a 20% greater risk of tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four abnormalities in the heart’s structure.
Both mothers and fathers should be alcohol-free prior to conception to protect the baby’s health
To be safe, the results suggest that men should not consume alcohol for at least six months before fertilization, while women should stop consuming alcohol one year before, and avoid it while pregnant.
Alcohol is a known teratogen (causes malformation of an embryo) and has been connected with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Around one in four children with FASD have congenital heart disease.
Birth defects occur in one out of every 33 babies and are the leading cause of infant death, according to the CDC. A congenital heart defect is the most common type of birth defect. Further, about 30% of babies born with this defect also have other physical problems or developmental or cognitive disorders.
Although our analysis has limitations—for example the type of alcohol was not recorded—it does indicate that men and women planning a family should give up alcohol,’ said study author Dr. Jiabi Qin, of Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China, as per Medical Xpress.