As we approach a new year (2015), we always seem to make (or at least consider) resolutions for the coming year. One of the most important decisions we can make as potential parents is to prepare for a pregnancy. This is true for both women and men equally. Planning ahead allows us to be proactive vs. reactive.
Here are some ideas for men planning on fathering a child:
- Plan Ahead! Sperm production cycles are 75 to 90 days.
- Complete a health assessment, discuss genetic carrier screening and obtain any screening tests advised by your healthcare provider.
- Obtain and maintain management of all chronic medical conditions.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss if overweight before pregnancy.
- If you smoke- STOP!
- Stop any anabolic steroids or supplements or recreational drugs: esp. marijuana.
- Limit alcohol consumption – no more than 4/week.
- Diet is important. Increase your daily intake of vegetables and fruits – at least 5 servings. Emphasize the Mediterranean or anti-inflammatory diet:
- Whole grains
- Avoid sugar/refined grains/trans fats
- Avoid processed meats and foods
- Reduce animal sources of protein
- Eat fresh vegetables /fruit
- Foods rich in monounsaturated fats
- “Whole” dairy products
- Reduce saturated fats- organic whole dairy is OK
- Eat more nuts – esp. walnuts
- A good Multi-Vitamin will provide additional antioxidants to the diet.
- Environmental factors:
- Boxers instead of briefs- uncertain benefit but can’t hurt.
- Avoid high temperature exposure. Avoid hot tub or sauna use.
- Cell phone use and the effect(s) on human sperm remain uncertain. As a precaution, consider keeping the cell phone away from the body. Utilize the speaker function and consider texting to reduce exposure to EMW radiation.
- Keep the laptop off your lap. Laptop computers represent sources of both electromagnetic energy exposure (Wi-Fi) as well as thermal energy (heat).
- Drink filtered water. Avoid plastic containers. Use stainless steel or glass water bottles.
- EWG – “Dirty” dozen and “Clean” 15 (vegetables and fruit).
- Avoid using products that contain BPA or phthalates. Minimize the use of food products or storage in cans or plastic containers.
- Minimize the use of personal care products such as moisturizers, cosmetics, shower gels and fragrances.
- Avoid the use of garden, household or pet pesticides/fungicides.
- Chemicals such as lead and pesticides can be tracked indoors on shoes, so it is always recommended to remove your shoes before coming indoors.
- Moderate, regular exercise is encouraged.
- Obtain healthy sleep
- Stress management!
Remember, these ideas will not only allow you a better start for a healthy pregnancy, but will also give you the tools for a healthy life. Adopting these lifestyle recommendations with your partner will allow both of you to improve your well being and provide one another mutual support and encouragement.
While this list may seem overwhelming, start with one lifestyle change at a time. Prioritize the most important changes first. You can do it!
Related Reading: Preparing for Pregnancy 2015: Part 1 – Women