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Why fatherhood begins before conception

Your partner’s diet and lifestyle can play a vital role in conceiving your future baby.

6 mins
to read Jan 4, 2021

When talking about eating for a healthy pregnancy, moms tend to get all the attention. But there’s growing evidence that a dad’s lifestyle and weight might also be a factor in fertility.

The dads-to-be diet

Men who are overweight are more likely to have a lower sperm count than men who maintain a healthy weight. Emerging research also indicates that losing weight may have a positive effect on a man’s sperm. The quality of dad’s diet matters too. We used to think some nutrients, such as folic acid, were only important for moms. However, scientists have discovered that men may need vitamins and minerals to help conception as well. “A diet rich in fruit and vegetables, which provides fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, may be beneficial for both mom’s and dad’s fertility,” says Dr. Robert DiGregorio, D.O., Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Nestlé Nutrition.

Eating for a “baby-ready” body

Of course, it’s not all about him. What you eat and how much you weigh may also influence your chances of becoming pregnant. Research indicates that would-be moms may influence their fertility by staying at a healthy weight and looking at their diet. Eating foods rich in vegetable protein, such as beans, and healthy fats, such as olive oil, can play a part. Choosing complex carbohydrates, instead of refined or high-sugar foods, may help keep your blood sugar stable, which can also be a factor in fertility.

“Another study suggested that women who take multivitamins with folic acid at least three times a week may be less likely to have ovulation infertility, which would be important when you want to conceive,” explains Dr. DiGregorio

Eating a nutritious diet can also help ensure that when you do conceive, your developing baby has all the nutrients needed to grow healthily even before you know you are pregnant. “When thinking about starting a family, ensuring both parents-to-be have a healthy diet and weight is a very good place to start,” advises Dr. DiGregorio.

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www.womenshealth.gov

 

Last revised: August, 2016