Aspiring parents should both avoid drinking alcohol prior to conception to protect against congenital heart defects, according to research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Drinking alcohol three months before pregnancy or during the first trimester was associated with a 44% raised risk of congenital heart disease for fathers and 16% for mothers, compared to not drinking. Binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks per sitting, was related to a 52% higher likelihood of these birth defects for men and 16% for women.
Previous studies investigating the link between alcohol and congenital heart disease have focused on prospective mothers, with inconclusive results. This is the first meta-analysis to examine the role of paternal alcohol drinking.