We have all heard about the impact a mother’s alcohol use can have on her unborn child. But, what about the father? Many people may not realize that a father’s use of alcohol during conception can have damaging effects as well. Let’s take a look at what can happen and how men can get help if they are excessively drinking.
How Can a Man’s Use of Alcohol During Conception Impact Baby’s Health?
A study found that a man’s drinking habits before conception can increase the baby’s chances of having certain medical conditions when they’re born. Researchers at Central South University in China found that a man’s drinking three months before conception was linked to a 44 percent increase of congenital heart disease.  Binge drinking in men, defined as having five or more drinks daily, increased the risk to 52 percent. A mother’s alcohol consumption during that same time increased the chances by 16 percent.
Congenital heart disease is a common birth defect that impacts how blood flows through the heart and rest of the body.  They can range from mild to severe, such as poorly formed parts of the heart. Congenital heart defects affect nearly 1% of all newborns every year in the United States. That amounts to about 40,000 babies annually.
Besides congenital heart defects, researchers have also found that a father’s drinking habits can have other effects on the baby’s health. Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, found that children born to fathers who drink heavily can have lower birth weights and cognitive impairments.  They also suggest that there could be more incidences of ADHD.
Researchers recommend that men should avoid alcohol six months before conception to prevent these possible birth defects. They also advise that women should stop drinking one year before they want to have a baby.
The Impact of Alcohol Use After a Baby is Born
A father’s use of alcohol once the baby is born can also have an impact on the baby’s development and the mother’s health.
Researchers at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions studied the development of children whose fathers abuse alcohol compared to those who didn’t. They found that the children of men with alcohol use disorders were more stubborn and had more persistent temperaments by the time they reached 12 months old. By 18 months, they had more internalizing problems. 
When a man drinks heavily when the baby arrives, it can also put more stress on the mother. When a woman is stressed, it can also impact her breast milk supply.  High levels of stress have also been linked to early weaning. If a mother had planned on breastfeeding her baby and suddenly can’t, this can lead to her becoming depressed as well.
Seeking Help at Ocean Hills Recovery
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we can help men and women overcome their alcohol use disorder and live a sober life. We know everyone’s battle is different. This is why we customize our treatment plan to fit each client.
Our treatment programs can include a combination of detox, therapy, and emotional support. Through individual and group therapy sessions, people can get the support they need to talk about what lead them to abuse alcohol and what they can do to live a sober life. By meeting new people and being introduced to new activities, they learn how fulfilling life without alcohol can be.
If you’re ready to start living a sober life, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today. Let us help you get healthy and live the life you deserve.
Sources: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/dads-who-drink-right-before-a-pregnancy-might-harm-their-babys-health-too  https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/facts.html  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31746471/  https://www.verywellmind.com/fathers-drinking-affects-children-63767  https://www.verywellfamily.com/stress-and-breastfeeding-effects-causes-and-coping-4118241#:~:text=Stress%20can%20affect%20breastfeeding%20in,help%20to%20lower%20your%20stress.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.