Dads-to-be must stop drinking 6 months before conception (Times of India, Times Trends, Oct 4, 2019)
- A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology” found that fathers drinking three months before conception increased the risk of congenital heart disease in babies by 44%, while this risk was 16% for mothers, compared to not drinking.
- There was a 52% higher likelihood of these birth defects if fathers indulged in binge drinking – defined as five or more drinks per sitting – while this risk was 16% for mothers.
- Jiabi Qin from Central South University in China and author of the study said the results suggest that when couples are trying for a baby, men should not consume alcohol for at least six months before fertilization while women should stop alcohol one year before, and avoid it while pregnant.
- Congenital heart diseases are the most common birth defects, with about 1.35 million babies affected every year.
- Alcohol is a known teratogen – which causes malformation of an embryo – and has been connected with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), researchers said. Around one in four children with FASD have congenital heart diseases, indicating that alcohol might also be implicated in these disorders, they said.
- Previous studies focused on prospective mothers; this is the first meta-analysis to examine the role of paternal alcohol drinking.