Less Drinking and More Thinking, Dad [PHIL-OSOPHY]
There's no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems, especially in their heart, for developing babies throughout pregnancy, including before you know she's pregnant.
According to scientists, fathers should stop drinking six months before you hope to conceive, in order to lower your child's risk of congenital heart problems. Researchers in China at the Xiangya School of Public Health, who just released a study through the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, have found that mothers should stop drinking a year before getting pregnant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared fathers who drank to fathers who didn't drink, and found that fathers who drank alcohol a few months before conception were 44 percent more likely to have babies born with congenital heart disease. Then there's this stat: for binge-drinking dads (fathers who drink five or more drinks per session), the chances of having a baby with congenital heart disease were 52 percent higher.
Worldwide, there are about 1.35 million babies born with heart problems. Here in the United States, congenital heart disease affects 40,000 babies and this number is on the rise.
The bottom line here is that scientists believe that drinking alcohol in the run-up to pregnancy has a good chance of affecting your baby's heart health. The main reason is that alcohol exposure changes the DNA in developing sperm and changes sperm activity.
So aside from being informational, this article also asks you to answer a question: is abstaining from alcohol, long before conceiving a child, too difficult to accomplish for today's parents?
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.