Everyone knows that pregnant women should not drink alcohol, but a new study indicates that men should avoid alcohol for up to six months before becoming expectant fathers. We bet you didn't know that!
Consuming alcohol in the first trimester of pregnancy can lead to congenital disease in the baby. The chance of this condition is about 16%, whether the expecting mother drinks moderately or binge drinks (defined as consuming five or more drinks in one sitting). Vital new information tells us that alcohol consumed by a father to be in the months before conception has a considerably larger impact on this risk. Also, binge drinking raises this risk even further.
According to recent research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, aspiring parents should both avoid drinking alcohol prior to conception to protect against congenital heart defects. Study author Dr Jiabi Qin, of Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China says the results suggest that when couples are trying for a baby, men should not consume alcohol for at least six months before fertilization. Women should stop alcohol one year before and avoid it while pregnant.
According to the results, drinking alcohol three months before pregnancy or during the first trimester was associated with a 44% raised risk of congenital heart disease for fathers and 16% for mothers, compared to not drinking. Binge drinking was related to a 52% higher likelihood of these birth defects for men and 16% for women.
This study was the first to examine to effects of future dads' alcohol consumption on birth defects. The results are very important for prospective parents to consider. Congenital heart disease is a serious condition with lifelong effects.
Since men cannot always know when they plan to become fathers, drinking in moderation may be the best route. Binge drinking raised the risk of congenital heart disease nearly 10% higher than moderate drinking. Binge drinking is not just bad for unborn children--it is also not good for your health overall.