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Can Alcohol Use in Fathers Affect the Health of an Unborn Baby?

man discusses alcohol use with counselor

The link between alcohol use in pregnant women and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, (adverse health issues and cognitive impairments found in babies due to the mother’s alcohol use during pregnancy), is well established.  New research, however, is pointing to a surprising connection between the drinking habits of the father and an increased risk in a baby being born with a congenital heart defect. In a study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, researchers found that men who drank in the three months prior to conceiving a child produced babies with a 44% higher risk of being born with a congenital heart condition than non-drinkers. Previous studies on the potential link between alcohol use and congenital defects in babies looked exclusively at the drinking behavior of the mother, both before and after conception.  Experts advise that a woman trying to conceive should quit drinking alcohol for one year before attempting to get pregnant. This new study suggests that men should also consider their drinking habits when trying to conceive, and should quit drinking for six months in advance of conception to significantly decrease the risks of heart defects for their child. Binge drinkers were found to be subjecting their offspring to an even higher risk, with babies of binge-drinking men found to have a 52% higher risk of being born with a congenital heart defect.  Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks in one sitting for men and is often considered a culturally acceptable pattern of drinking behavior. Men who are planning a family or desire more children, but feel they may have an addiction to alcohol, should seek professional help.  Recovering from addiction will benefit every member of the family on several levels, and might even protect the health of future children.      

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  We use an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.