Written by Eve Bandusena | Parents Avenue’s Editorial Assistant
According to research published by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, aspiring parents should steer clear from consuming alcohol as early as six months before conception to protect their baby against congenital heart defects.
“Congenital heart disease is a lesion that’s pre-existed when a baby is born. The heart lesion occurs during the development of the fetus in the womb.” Says Dr. Abu Bakar Bin Mamat, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital Kota Kinabalu.
“Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a well-known cause for congenital heart disease especially Atrial septal defects (ASD) and Ventricular septal defects (VSD) because alcohol is a toxin to the fetus.” He affirms.
To support his claims, it’s been found that a high 44% risk of raised congenital heart disease has been found for fathers who engaged in drinking alcohol while it lowers down for mothers by a low 16% compared to parents who avoided alcohol.
As for parents who are binge drinkers, there were 52% chances of congenital heart disease the baby from men and 16% for women. Binge drinking, which is classified as drinking large amounts of alcohol in one sitting. This typical include five drink or more for a single session for men and four drinks or more for women.
“There the term ‘alcoholic baby syndrome’ in a mother who is an alcoholic. The babies tend to be smaller (low birth weight), slower mental development, physical deformities among other things…” says Dr. Abu regarding parents that are alcoholic drinkers.
“All pregnant mothers should have a regular ante-natal check-up and take medications or supplements given by their doctors to reduce the risk of congenital heart diseases especially those who are more than 35 years old,” he advises. “For those who are more than 35 years old at the time of their pregnancy, their risk to get a congenital heart defect baby is higher than others.”
However, there’s some good news for expectant mothers that are adamant about indulging in a glass of wine or two. “It is advisable to limit alcohol intake to a glass or two in a week for pregnant mother,” says Dr. Abu.
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