In preconception planning, there is a tenancy to focus heavily on the Mom-to-be and only give general, limited advice to the Dad-to-be. Yes, the woman carries, nourishes, delivers, and breast feeds the baby and so optimal health is essential for a longer, deeper time. However, the man IS a 50% contributor to the making and conceiving of the baby, and 50% genetically responsible for the outcome of the health of the baby's DNA. Studies show that men's health prior to fetal conception can alter the baby's long term health and alter the probability of certain health conditions .
One of the most interesting facts and a biological reality that most are unaware of is that, it takes 98 days to make sperm. That means, what a man does 3 months or more prior to conception is effecting the current health of his sperm. We tend to think that sperm is made
so regularly that it is only effected by immediate events. It is true sperm is made regularly, but the process to get sperm totally developed begins 98 days before it is released.
A second fact, American males currently have a 40 million sperm count on average. Possible male infertility or failure to conceive is associated with a sperm count 10-15 million or below. However, average sperm counts are falling and studies have noted a 30% decrease in the average male sperm count in the last few decades. Average sperm counts in the past have been as high as 90 million count. Additionally, the shape, speed, and overall health of semen has declined.
Good news, there are many ways to increase the health, quality, and numbers count of sperm. It begins with nutrition, dietary, supplements, stress management, and exercise. Simply taking better, daily care of yourself can boost sperm quality. Eliminating processed food and trans fats while eating more fish, free range meat, fruits, and vegetables can eliminate harmful fats and add essential fats and nutrients to the diet. A basic men's multi that includes essential sperm enhancing nutrients such as Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin D along with a omega fatty acid supplement improves sperm quality. Stress has a drastic effect on sperm quality. Managing stress levels with sleep habits, diet and exercise is a simple way to improve overall and sperm health together. Exercise that does not effect testicular blood flow, such as long bike rides, can reduce abnormal fat stores, improve sleep, reduce stress, and improve sperm counts.
Of course, a detox program 3-6 months prior to conception is always advised. For men. a detox is only effective 3 or more months prior to conception and preferably over 3 months as to reduce toxin burden incorporated into sperm during a detox.
Men are equal contributors to the health of their baby, and while basic recommendations such as reduce alcohol and stop smoking are still highly valuable information, sperm
quality and therefore healthier baby outcomes can be drastically improved by Dads-to-be prior to conception with health and lifestyle modifications.