13 Things men should be doing if they’re trying to have a baby
It's not just women who bear the burden of wanting to get pregnant. Men can also help this along by managing their fertility. Here's how!
Dads-to-be play as important a role as moms do when it comes to the quest to make a baby. Here are 13 important changes men who want to be daddies need to be making in their daily life.
1. Stop smoking
According to Dr. Edmund Sabanegh, smoking can affect fertility just as much as lung health. "Smoking is known to affect our sperm count, motion, and general health of sperm. Tobacco metabolites can even be found in semen," he told the Reader's Digest.
2. Get the right amount of sleep
According to professor Lauren Wise, men who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours "had a 42 percent reduced probability of conception in any given month." These findings were based on a study conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health on 800 couples who were trying to conceive.
The research also showed that hormones might be to blame for the lowered chances of conception. Testosterone, most of which is produced during sleep, is an important part of sperm production.
3. Watch your weight
Dr. Jamin Brahmbatt tells Reader's Digest: "The healthier the body, the healthier the sperm."
Research out of the University of Copenhagen echoes this, citing how a man's weight affects the genetic information passed on through his sperm. YourFertility.org states that obese or overweight men have a lower sperm quality and they may encounter erectile dysfunction as well as hormonal changes, which make them disinterested in sex.
4. Have your sperm tested
Men now have their own version of monitoring their fertility, just like women keep track of their ovulation. The Trak Male Fertility Testing System is a home test which can be used to determine sperm count.
The system comes with an app which helps men track their eating, exercising, and sleeping habits, which may affect sperm health.
"A lot of couples keep trying and never know until they finally see a specialist what’s going on. This way, they can start checking for stuff at home and make changes through the help of the app before they even see a doctor," Dr. Brahmbhatt tells Reader's Digest, adding that it takes at least 3 months for lifestyle changes to improve sperm quality.
5. Take it easy with the caffeine
Couples who are trying to have a baby should limit their caffeine intake. Drinking lots coffee can affect conception chances in half, according to a report by CNN.
A study published in Reproductive Toxicology found that men who consumed less caffeine (mostly from soda and energy drinks) had a higher chance of getting their partners pregnant.
6. Staying away from heat
Refrain from soaking in hot tubs or anything that heats the pelvis area, because according to Dr. Sabanegh. Heat can cause damage to testicles.
"There’s a reason they have a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the body, they function better that way," he tells Reader's Digest.
7. Get moving
Men who watch more than 20 hours of TV per week have a 44 percent lower sperm count compared to men who watch less TV, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health. So, if you want to be a daddy, you have to get off the couch. The said researche also found that men who engaged in exercise for 15 hours or more weekly had a 73 percent higher sperm count than men who rarely hit they gym.
Next page: More lifestyle changes men who want to be dads need to make
8. Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol
Previous research has found that high blood pressure and cholesterol is linked to erectile dysfunction, which can hinder intercourse and affect sperm count.
“About 15 percent of all couples have fertility issues, and in half of those cases the male partner has semen deficiencies,” said lead author Dr. Michael Eisenberg of Stanford University told Medical Daily.
9. Maintain a healthy diet
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can affect sperm health as well as your overall wellness. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants have also been found to improve sperm quality.
“Just like eating French fries is bad for your heart, your testicles are an organ too and feed off the same nutrients the rest of your body feeds off,” explains Dr. Brahmbhatt.
10. Consume more dairy
Consuming low-fat dairy can improve a man's fertility, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. About 1 to 3 ½ servings a day of low fat dairy can increase sperm concentration and improve sperm motility.
11. Manage alcohol intake
According to Dr. Sabanegh: "Alcohol in high levels can lower fertility and hurt our liver, which affects hormone levels. Marijuana and other drugs like opiates also affect the hormones required in sperm production."
12. Steer clear of supplements
Men who want to bulk up with supplements must continue to hit the gym and achieve their desired buff bod the natural way.
Testerone supplements can confuse your body, says Dr. Sabanegh, making it think you're getting enough of the hormone, causing it to stop producing it.
"Stress is associated with lower fertility, possibly because of cortisol, but nobody knows for sure," Dr. Sabanegh told Reader's Digest.
A recent study from California, cited by Medical News Today, found that life stress "led to lower sperm quality." Researchers from Columbia University also shared how psychological stress can affect sperm concentration, quality, and motility.
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