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Study shows alcohol by father during 6 months prior to conception increases baby malformations
According to research published in 2019 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Drinking alcohol 3-6 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, defined as five or more drinks per sitting, was related to a 52% higher likelihood of these birth defects for men and 16% for women.
Congenital heart diseases are the most common birth defects, with approximately 1.35 million babies affected every year. Alcohol is a known teratogen and has been connected with other pregnancy problems such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) if the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Around one in four children with FASD have congenital heart disease, indicating that alcohol might also be implicated in these disorders.
While prior studies investigating the link between alcohol and congenital heart disease have focused on prospective mothers, this is the first study to examine the role of the father's alcohol drinking.
The study found that compared to abstinence, maternal drinking was correlated to a 20% greater risk of a heart malformation called "tetralogy of Fallot", a combination of four abnormalities in the heart's structure.
Journal Reference: Senmao Zhang, Lesan Wang, Tubao Yang, Lizhang Chen, Lijuan Zhao, Tingting Wang, Letao Chen, Ziwei Ye, Zan Zheng, Jiabi Qin. Parental alcohol consumption and the risk of congenital heart diseases in offspring: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2019; 204748731987453 DOI: 10.1177/2047487319874530