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.
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.