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Dad's Alcohol Intake, Lifestyle Can Affect Unborn Babies

Update Date: May 19, 2016 06:04 AM EDT

During pregnancy, mothers are at a delicate stage and normally this would mean certain changes and limitations as far as their lifestyle is concerned. That would include proper dieting and nutritional intake among others but would-be fathers are not totally spared from such.

Expectant fathers also have a part in the process and it starts with the lifestyle that they follow. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center pointed out that some epigenetic changes which affect newborns could result based on their age, alcohol intake as well as the environment they are in.

In focus with the findings was the case of birth defects. The study determined that both the mother and the father contributed to the eventual outcome of children, including the hormonal, nutritional and psychological environment.

Senior investigator Dr. Joanna Kitlinska leads the team in keeping track of the hormonal, nutritional and psychological factors of mothers but singled out as well the participation of the father. Age and lifestyle were singled out as key things that manifested in the molecules controlling the gene function, something that affects children and potentially their offsprings.

"We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring," says Dr. Kitlinska. “Our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers—his lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function."

Among the birth defects include that of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which can occur in children even if a mother avoids the intake of alcohol. Laboratory Equipment reports that pre-conceptual paternal alcohol use can negatively affect the offspring, which should sound some sort of alarm for expectant fathers.

A study covering the heritable epigenetic programming and the fathers returned that a limited diet on the end of fathers during his pre-adolescent years is tied up with lesser risk to potential cardiovascular death of offsprings that could go as far as their grandchildren. Aside from that, fathers were also associated as far as being linked to increased levels of autism, birth defects and schizophrenia towards children.

Birth defects are something most expectant parents want to avoid. Among the things that can happen include significant reduction in the brain size, impaired cognitive function and reduced birth weight, things that have been associated with paternal alcohol intake.

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