Dads-to-be should avoid alcohol for six months before trying for a baby to protect their offspring from birth defects, experts warn.
The first study into the effect of men’s boozing on unborn children found drinking in the run-up to conception could raise the risks of heart problems by up to 44%.
Dangers of mums drinking alcohol during pregnancy are well known.
But the research, which compiled data from 55 studies dating back to 1991, suggests men wanting a baby should lay off the booze too.
Author Dr Jiabi Qin, of Central South University in China, said: “When trying for a baby, men should not consume alcohol for at least six months.
“Although our analysis has limitations, for example the type of alcohol was not recorded, it does indicate men and women planning a family should give up alcohol.”
Dr Qin added wannabe mums should quit booze for at least a year before trying to conceive as well as not touching a drop after becoming pregnant.
And he warned that for both sexes having five or more drinks in a session only increased the dangers.
“Binge-drinking by would-be parents is a high-risk and dangerous behaviour,” Dr Qin added.
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