This article is by Steven Reinberg a HealthDay Reporter
When women are planning on getting pregnant their doctors usually advise them to stop drinking. However, new research indicates that men hoping to become fathers should also avoid alcohol for a minimum of six months before trying to conceive.According to the research, if would-be parents drink in the three months before pregnancy, and if the mother drinks during the first trimester, they run the risk of having a baby with congenital heart disease. Men who drink alcohol will elevate the risk by 44%, and women by 16%.
If the would-be parents engage in Binge drinking (that’s having five or more drinks at one time), that that increases a man’s by 52%, and a woman’s by 16%.
The author of the study Dr. Jiabi Qin from the school of public health at Central South University in Changsha, China, states that “Binge drinking by would-be parents is a high risk and dangerous behavior that not only may increase the chance of their baby being born with a heart defect, but also greatly damages their own health”. It should be noted that this study doesn’t prove that drinking causes heart defects, but only that the two appear to be related.
In this study the researchers analyzed 55 published studies, which included almost 42,000 infants who suffered from congenital heart disease and nearly 298,000 that did not. Dr. Qin states in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology, “We observed a gradually rising risk of congenital heart diseases as parental alcohol consumption increased. The relationship was not statistically significant at the lower quantities”.When those who drank alcohol were compare with those that did not drink, maternal alcohol use was also linked to a 20% higher risk of a baby born with a combination of four structural heart abnormalities known as Tetralogy of Fallot.
At present, over one million children are born each year with heart defects. These heart conditions are the most significant cause of infant death and they also increase the likelihood of future heart disease.Finally, Dr. Qin sums up his study by stating that, “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”.The report was published online Oct. 2 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.