Chinese scientists from the Sanya School of Public Health have found out how alcohol consumption by prospective parents affects a child’s heart health.
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How alcohol affects the health of an unborn child
To determine how parents' alcohol consumption affects a child’s health, scientists conducted a meta-analysis of 55 studies that were published from 1991-2019.
The studies are based on the results of examinations of 41,747 children with congenital heart defects and 297,587 healthy children. Also, scientists additionally examined their parents.
Congenital heart defects
Congenital heart defects – any disease of the heart and / or major vessels that has an anatomical defect and is detected at birth.
Each year, about 1.35 million newborns around the world are born with congenital heart defects.
In addition, heart defects are the main cause of death during childbirth and can cause serious illness during the process of growing up a child.
It turned out that in children whose parents drank alcohol for three months before conception, the risks of developing the disease were 44% higher.
In addition, if mothers drank alcohol for three months before conception, or allowed themselves alcohol in the first trimester of pregnancy, this increased the risk of illness in children by 16%.
How much time before conception to give up alcohol to a man
Excessive alcohol consumption also affected the occurrence of congenital heart defects if the future father abused alcohol.
Scientists insist that the potential father should refrain from drinking alcohol for at least half a year until the moment of attempts to conceive.
Fatherhood is a responsibility
Worst of all, if a man has "binges". In particular, if a man three months before conception drank more than five permissible norms at a time, the risks of having a baby with heart disease increased by 55%.
In the case of women, the risks remain the same – 16%.
The study also says that drinking alcohol shortly before conception is associated with the development of fetal alcohol syndrome.
"We observed a gradual increase in the risks of congenital heart defects as potential parents consume alcohol," the scientists said.
Scientists add that the results of their work show only the relationship between drinking alcohol before conception and the possible risks of having a baby with heart defects.
This does not mean that there is a direct pattern, and even more so, this is not proof that the use of alcohol by women before conception is safe for the unborn child.
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