Health & safety

Healthier Habits for Dads-to-Be

While it’s certainly possible that a man will produce enough healthy semen to impregnate a woman without following the below mentioned behaviors, these are simply suggestions for optimizing men’s health to ensure reproductive wellness. For starters, men who are concerned about their sperm health should avoid using testosterone, whether it’s being taken by prescription or illegally as a performance-enhancing drug. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking testosterone actually inhibits a man’s ability to produce it naturally, thereby limiting sperm production. In some tests, testosterone has actually even worked effectively as a male form of contraceptive. There are additional habits that men may want to avoid in order to keep sperm healthy. For instance, men who wear tight-fitting underwear versus boxer shorts may be more likely to have sperm with low motility. According to a 2012 study from the U.K those men showed a 24% higher likelihood for low motility. Frequent hot tubs or baths may also cause temporary fertility problems, and cycling may raise testicular temperature, potentially causing low sperm count. Although any issues caused by high levels of heat are usually temporary, men may want to avoid them before or during the times when they are TTC.[3.Cleveland Clinic; see above.] Not only women, but also men should stop tobacco use before TTC. Tobacco has been proven to lower sperm count, and it also inhibits sperm’s mobility. Some evidence has even indicated that tobacco could corrode some DNA components in sperm, and may even put the mother at risk for miscarriage [4.Cleveland Clinic; see above.] Drinking, too, should be curbed. While there’s no evidence suggesting that occasional drinking can harm sperm health, excessive alcohol consumption can cause hormone shifts in men. As long as expectant fathers are dinking only in moderation while trying to conceive, then they are likely not putting their sperm at risk. Men who plan to become fathers should also consider their diet and exercise routines. Sugary and overly-processed foods may not be the best pre-baby diets; instead, men who are TTC should choose fresh and all-natural foods if possible. Fresh vegetables and fruits have high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. It’s especially important to take in adequate levels of vitamins C and E, both of which have a positive effect on fertility. In addition, muscle-toning exercises may aid in keeping sperm healthy. Excess fat tissue can cause hormone imbalances, which can inhibit the body’s ability to make sperm.[7.Cleveland Clinic; see above.] It is not necessary to do all of the above mentioned things in order to conceive, but it’s good to be informed about what the source of a fertility problem could be and to keep them in mind when TTC.   [avafootnote]

Sharee Loeffler

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