In the 2007 comedy "Knocked Up," a young woman (played by Katherine Heigl) ends up pregnant after an inebriated one-night stand with an underachiever, played by Seth Rogan. Thankfully, the baby is born healthy, despite their lapse in judgment (and like all good romantic comedies, the pair fall in love).
But in real life, many couples aren't so lucky when it comes to drinking and conception. Not only is alcohol consumption a terrible idea for women DURING pregnancy, it turns out women and men should avoid alcohol for months BEFORE trying to conceive.
A new study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggests that alcohol consumption - especially binge-drinking - is associated with a higher risk for infant congenital heart defects. The researchers looked at 55 studies that included 41,747 infants who had congenital heart disease. They found a 44% higher risk for infant congenital heart disease when dads drank even three months before conception. The risk was even higher - 52% - in dads who were binge-drinkers. Moms who drank before conception upped the risk by 16%. The researchers recommend not drinking for six months before conception to protect the fetus.
There's more: This info joins a growing body of research that shows Dad's use of drugs, his stress response, even excess weight, ups his future child's risk for autism, obesity and mental illness, in addition to birth defects.
Now, avoiding alcohol may put a damper on some movie plotlines, but your real-life child deserves the best chance for a healthy life.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.