A father-to-be’s health and age can affect his partner’s chances of falling pregnant, as well as the future health of the baby.
A large percentage of men don’t even have a primary care physician. There are countless benefits from a wellness exam for men – many of which are proven to save lives.
When most people hear the term preconception health, they think about women. However, preconception health is equally important for men, too. There are things men can do for their own health, as well as for the women and children in their lives.
Simple steps you can take to help ensure you’re as healthy and fit as possible to be a dad.
If you want to conceive a baby, it is important to:
- Start trying to fall pregnant before you are 40, if possible
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Cut back on alcohol
- Prevent and treat STDs
Why Age is Important?
Men can make sperm into their 70s and beyond, BUT the quality of the sperm declines as they get older. Men over 40 have fewer healthy sperm than younger men. If you are 45 or older, your partner may take longer to fall pregnant and is at greater risk of miscarriage. Older dads are at slightly at higher risk of having a baby with autism or a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, compared with younger fathers according to studies.
Of course, you can’t control your age – but if you are older and thinking about conceiving, start trying as soon as possible and get yourself screened to rule out health issues.
Why Should You Maintain a Healthy Weight?
People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
In addition, obesity among men is associated directly with increasing male infertility.
The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health now and as you age.
If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, talk with your doctor or another health professional about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Are you still smoking? Second hand smoke increases your partner’s chance of giving birth to a low birthweight baby by 20 percent.
There is no safe limit for smoking. If you are trying to have a baby, it’s important to quit at least 3 months before you start trying for a baby. Smoking can cause erectile dysfunction.
It is proven to damage the DNA in your sperm and smoking more than 1 pack of cigarette a day increases the risk of the baby developing leukaemia.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake If You Are Planning For a Family
Consuming alcohol occasionally is unlikely to affect your fertility. But heavy and chronic drinking can reduce sperm quality, lower testosterone production, and makes it harder to achieve an erection.
It can also lead to liver damage, which affects both your general and reproductive health. We don’t know exactly how much alcohol will impact your fertility, so consuming alcohol in moderation is your safest bet. It is recommended to cut out or reduce alcohol consumption at least three months before trying for a baby.
How Can Sexually Transmitted Infections Affect Fertility?
If you think you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it’s important to get it checked and treated by a doctor right away.
Why is that so? STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea can damage the reproductive organs and cause infertility. Thankfully, most STIs can be treated, and if you diagnose it early, you’ll be fine. Getting treatment at an earlier stage also reduce the chance of spreading the STI to your partner.
Get screened and treated for any sexually transmitted infections. Continue to protect yourself and your partner from STIs during pregnancy. Pregnancy does not provide a woman or the baby she is carrying any protection against STIs.
Bringing a new life into the world is a huge responsibility for a man and woman.
Preconception health is about doing as much as possible to ensure a healthy pregnancy, a healthy child, and healthy parents — and it’s important for both sexes. Getting ready for a child is something that men and women need to do together.