If you're really serious about having a baby in the next six months, new research says that it’s probably a good idea that you put that pint of beer or glass of wine down. As a matter of fact, one study suggests that both women and men should give up drinking if they're looking to conceive. Men, in particular, should stay away from alcohol for up to six months if they plan on becoming a father in the future.
According to WebMD, if a couple drinks within the three months before pregnancy- and if a mom-to-be drinks during the first trimester- there’s a stronger chance that her child might be born with congenital heart disease. A man’s drinking habits boost the risk of up to 44 percent, while a woman’s drinking brings up the chances by 16 percent.
For parents-to-be who like to go on drinking binges, there’s even more bad news. If you're someone who likes to have five or more drinks in one sitting, your chances of having a child with health complications go up significantly. For men, it’s by 52 percent while for women it’s 16 percent.
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While the odds are definitely stacked against those who like to call themselves social drinkers, it’s safe to say that men definitely have it worse off than women- especially if they plan on starting a family in the near future. The study’s author, Dr. Jiabi Qin- a researcher in the school of public health Central South University in Changsha, China- suggests that potential parents re-evaluate some of their lifestyle choices before deciding to have a baby. Not only will putting the glass down be beneficial to their own health but the health of their future child as well.
“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,” Dr. Qin said.
However, the study doesn’t prove that drinking causes heart defects in newborns- but it did appear related. A team of researchers analyzed 55 published studies. One contained nearly 42 000 infants with congenital heart disease and nearly 298 000 without. It seems as though more research will be needed in this area to learn more about it.
Qin also said 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.”
For those who have further questions about the study's findings- or if they plan on having a baby in the future- you should definitely consult with your doctor or a trusted health professional to learn more.