man exercising

The father's health affects the mother's and pregnancy outcomes

It is clear that a father's health before conception should be considered, as it can affect the outcome of the pregnancy for both the child and mother. Fathers who are less healthy are more likely to be subfertile and infertile. This includes fathers with high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer or depression. Several studies show that the father's bad health increases certain pregnancy complications including pregnancy loss, stillbirths, ectopic pregnancy. Fathers who were not in the best of health are more likely to father children who are born preterm and with low birth weight who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The pre-trimester (or time of preconception) is not just for women but for men, too. A man plays a large part in the pre-trimester period. His health prior to conception is essential for the chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. There are many things men should and can do, not only for their own health, but also for the women and children in their lives. Not only women have to consider the health of their bodies before conception, during the pre-trimester — men also need to get life in order and start working toward a healthier, happier body and life.

Certain exercises are associated with reduced male fertility.

Many of the same changes women should make prior to conceiving are mirrored in suggestions for men. Taking a couple’s approach to preconception health may make it easier to adopt lifestyle changes. Every man needs a check-up once a year, even if they feel healthy. Yearly check-ups and physicals help doctors keep an ongoing medical record of overall health. You may not notice small changes in blood pressure, blood glucose or cholesterol, but your doctor can quickly compare test results from this year to previous years to recognize changes. Early detection of health conditions is the best way to head off long-term disease and chronic illness. 

Skip OTC Medications That Affect Fertility

Talk with your doctor about the OTC (over-the-counter) and prescription medications you are currently taking. Medications used to treat ulcers, even OTC varieties, may affect sperm count and production. It can take some time to change prescription medications, especially if the current regime is working well, so schedule that check-up early. 

If you have had radiation or chemotherapy your doctor may need to order a semen analysis to determine if you are able to conceive a child. Cancer treatments often leave men sterile or in a situation of significantly reduced fertility that may make conception difficult or impossible.

Change Up That Exercise Routine

Certain exercises are associated with reduced male fertility. Cycling is at the top of the list. Cycling causes excess heat in the testicles. Excess heat can damage sperm and affect sperm production. Other heated conditions to avoid include saunas, hot tubs, and even long showers. Further reduce testicular temperature by switching from briefs to boxers. 

Cut Down or Skip That

Cut down on your intake of saturated fat, alcohol and processed foods as they may reduce sperm count, sperm quality, and erectile function, including your ability to ejaculate. Skip illegal drugs and smoking, if possible. Smoking may not have an impact on sperm count, but second-hand smoke can affect pregnant women and the fetus. Second-hand smoke can be carried on clothing, skin, and hair.

Making Positive Changes

While you are getting that check-up, changing up your exercise plan and cutting down on saturated fat intake, you can also be making positive changes to diet, mood, and exercise.

Vitamins: Add a multivitamin to your daily supplement schedule or start a new schedule if you do not currently take supplements or medications. Multivitamins support overall health and provide zinc. Zinc and folic acid are associated with improving sperm count according to a recent study. 

Stress Reduction: Reduce stress at work and home whenever possible. Adopt breathing exercises, start yoga classes or simply take a walk when you feel stress building.

Work Out: Exercise is just a part of becoming a better you. If you do not currently exercise on a regular basis — start. Make this a couple’s change because you both need to exercise to prepare for pregnancy.

Read More: 
Get Your Body Ready for Pregnancy
New Year’s Resolutions: Eat Foods that Improve Fertility
The Preconception To-Do List
12 Steps To Lose Weight Before You Get Pregnant
Eat Healthy: Pregnancy Nutrition and Food Guide
How to Financially Prepare for a Baby
Should I or Shouldn't I? Pregnancy Safety Guide
How to Pamper Yourself During Pregnancy
Male Fertility Testing: Sperm Analysis and Count
16 Pregnancy Tips for Dads-to-Be
Charting and Counting: A Man’s Guide to Ovulation

More on Preconception:
What Is the Pre-Trimester?
The Six Trimesters of Pregnancy