Preconception care is as important as care after conception. Most of the couples tend to ignore this fact until a problem arises. Preconception planning is a must-do for both men and women. Here, I share a guide for men so that would-be fathers are aware of what to watch out for, when they are ready to bring a baby in their life.
Every couple is excited to bring their little one to this world. Once they make up their mind, they start trying for a baby. It is important for both the would-be parents to frame a preconception plan, before they actually start trying. Preconception planning helps in preparing both men and women to reach to optimum physical, emotional and financial well-being. Healthy and happy couples, and in turn healthy would-be moms have more chances of conceiving than stressed-out moms.
One may think that preconception planning is only essential for women. However, this is not true. It is equally essential for men, and it is important that men too take care of their overall health when they have decided to become a father. Preconception tips offered by family and friends can be followed. Preconception care for both the would-be parents should start three months before planning for pregnancy. Let’s concentrate on preconception planning for men.
Preconception Health for Men
Men who are ready to bring that bundle of joy in their life should be aware of the additional responsibilities they need to fulfill when the baby arrives. Additional responsibilities mean extra work pressure. It is therefore important for would-be fathers to be in a proper state of health to put in that extra effort.
Overweight and obese men should try to get back to normal weight because those extra pounds may affect their libido and fertility. One may take up some stress management techniques to get relieved of stress. Getting involved in activities that make you happy, and a good night’s sleep, for at least 8 hours everyday will help in remaining active. Stress reduces sexual drive and sexual performance. A peaceful state of mind improves the chances of conception.
Like women, men should also go through a checkup by a doctor, before planning for conception. This will ensure proper health and identify any underlying problem, if any. The doctor should be informed about previous medical history. Illness during childhood, specially mumps can affect sperm producing testicles, resulting in poor sperm quality or even sterility, at times. Certain medications also alter sperm production in the body. It is better to inform the doctor, if you are on medication for certain condition.
Following laboratory tests are recommended for men to avoid any potential hereditary risk to the baby.
- Test for HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted infections are requested by the doctor for men with increased risk of such diseases.
- Test for hypertension and diabetes.
- A lipid profile test is requested for men aged 35 years or older.
- Test for varicocele.
- Men are screened for testicular cancer as well.
Doctors prescribe preconception vitamins for men to provide necessary nutritional supplements to the body. Optimum level of zinc and selenium is required in the body, as they are associated with sperm production. Other vitamins which are not available to the body via food, can be supplemented in the form of multi-vitamins.
A healthy, well-balanced diet provides all the essential nutrients to the body. Preconception diet for men should include a proper breakfast, lunch, and a light dinner with proper quantities of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins. The diet should include;
- Fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products with low-fat content like milk, yogurt, processed cheese etc.
- Food rich in carbohydrates like bread, rice, and cereals
- Protein-rich food like pulses, beans, eggs, and meat
Apart from following a proper diet pattern, one should drink enough fluids to wash out toxins from the body. It is also important to monitor alcohol consumption. Men consuming excessive alcohol may have problems. It is better to avoid alcohol as much as you can, or drink occasionally.
Points to Note
Here are a few points to note prior to conception;
- Check for hazardous chemicals in and around your surroundings. Certain chemicals, like pesticides, affect the quality and quantity of the sperms. Long exposure to such chemicals may lead to conceiving problems.
- Keep away from long hot showers and sauna baths because sperms need a cool environment for production. High temperatures will affect the sperm production in the testicles.
- Avoid long biking and cycling sessions as it may adversely affect the sperm count.
- Quit smoking as it is injurious to health and reduces the chances of fathering a baby.
- Exercise daily to keep fit and healthy.
- Cut down unnecessary caffeine intake.
- Manage your finances and get financially sound for the upcoming expenses.
I hope this guide to preconception planning has helped you in clearing some of your doubts related to the topic. What is most important for a couple is to love and respect each other and be in a state of good health. Many couples face problems in conceiving because they do not pay attention to their overall health before actually conceiving a baby. It is therefore essential for a couple to prepare themselves, before bringing their little angel in this world.