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Study: Fathers’ Lifestyles Can Affect Health of Unborn Babies

Education News – Grace Smith

“For decades, expectant mothers have been cautioned about smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol, but now an expanding body of research suggests that men who are trying to have children should be just as careful as mothers. Carina Storrs, writing for CNN, reports that what fathers are exposed to can also have lasting effects on their youngsters’ health…If a woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the alcohol crosses the placenta and can result in inferior coordination, delays in cognitive development, heart defects, and low birth weight. But research over the past ten years suggests that fathers who drink alcohol regularly before conceiving also increase the risk of their child having fetal alcohol syndrome. In fact, alcoholism or heavy drinking by men before conceiving has been linked to as many as 75% of affected babies. Drinking, smoking, or engaging in other risky behaviors seem to mark their progeny through epigenetics, which are the biological processes that finely adjust genes without mutating them.”(more)