Ready to Get Pregnant? Dad's Health Matters

From the WebMD Archives

When you and your partner are trying to have a baby, you'll hear a lot of advice that's geared to the mom-to-be: Take prenatal vitamins, don't drink alcohol, say no to sushi, and get plenty of rest. But did you know a dad's health at conception can affect the baby's health as well?

"Many men may not realize that the health of their sperm is just as important as the health and viability of a woman's egg," says Joseph Garza, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Advanced Fertility Center in San Antonio, TX.

Research is still early, but an Australian study of animals found that males who were obese, had diabetes, or ate a high-fat diet at the time of conception raised the risk of obesity in their babies.

So guys, if you and your partner want to have a baby soon, start making these lifestyle changes today:

Drink less alcohol. A recent study shows that moderate to heavy drinking caused men's bodies to make more abnormal sperm.

Exactly how many drinks is "moderate" for men? It varies, so your best bet is to limit yourself to one to two drinks a day, says Daniel A. Potter, MD, co-author of What to Do When You Can't Get Pregnant. Also, if you smoke, it's time to quit.

Get moving. "Regular exercise is associated with increased male fertility and virility," Potter says. Thirty to 45 minutes of cardio three times a week is a good place to start. Running, brisk walking, bicycling, jumping rope, and swimming are examples of cardio.

Lose weight. Not only could extra pounds raise the risk of obesity in your children, but obesity is linked to lower sperm counts and less fertility, Potter says. Your best bet for dropping weight? Eat a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, and hit the gym.

Take a daily multi­vitamin. It can help boost the amount of healthy sperm your body makes, Potter says.

WebMD Magazine - Feature Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on July 21, 2014



Morris, M.J. The FASEB Journal, January 2014.

Joo, K.J. Journal of International Medical Research, December 2012.

Fronczak, C.M., Journal of Andrology, July-August 2012.

Joseph Garza, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist, Advanced Fertility Center, San Antonio, TX.

Daniel Potter, MD, co-author, What to Do When You Can't Get Pregnant, Da Capo Press, 2013.

Science Daily: "Genetic Abnormalities In Sperm Linked To Dietary Folate Intake, Study Shows." "Physical Activity Guidelines."

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