Most of us abstain from alcohol as soon as we find out we are pregnant, but new research has found that a father's alcohol consumption can also cause birth defects in Baby.
According to a study conducted by Georgetown University Medical Centre, newborn babies can be diagnosed with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder even if Mum never touched alcohol, suggesting the alcohol consumption of the father can affect the baby.
“Up to 75% of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that pre-conceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring,” senior investigator Dr Joanna Kitlinska explained.
In fact, the more they drink the more they put their child at risk of having a smaller brain and impaired mental skills.
But that’s not the only thing men need to be aware of when trying for a baby.
Researchers looked at environmental effects that alter genes passed on by men and found that age, lifestyle and experiences of a male can lead to physical and mental problems in his children.
According to the research published in the American Journal of Stem Cells, the older the father is the higher the chances of their child going on to develop schizophrenia, autism and birth defects, as well as increased chances of obesity.
Stress in men was also found to cause defective behavioural traits.
“We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring,” explained Dr Kitlinska.
“But 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. In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.
"To really understand the epigenetic influences of a child, we need to study the interplay between maternal and paternal effects, as opposed to considering each in isolation.”