Pregnancy and Childbirth: Dad’s Alcohol Habits May Affect Fetal Growth

Fathers’ alcohol consumption around the time of conception and during pregnancy may have long-lasting effects on their children’s health, with new research suggesting a link to fetal growth restriction and other developmental issues.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that heavy drinking by fathers before and during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of fetal growth restriction, a condition that occurs when a fetus is smaller than expected for its gestational age. The study also found that fathers’ moderate drinking was associated with an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.

The researchers looked at data from nearly 4,000 mother-child pairs in the United Kingdom. They found that fathers who drank the equivalent of two or more pints of beer a day before conception and during pregnancy were more likely to have a child with fetal growth restriction. The risk was even higher for fathers who reported binge drinking, which was defined as consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion.

The researchers also found that fathers who drank moderately, which was defined as one to two drinks a day, were more likely to have a child who was born preterm or with low birth weight. The risk of these outcomes was not as high as for fathers who drank heavily, but it was still significant.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Jessica Tyrrell, said the findings suggest that fathers need to be aware of the potential risks of alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy. .

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