Why Men Need Prenatal Nutrition Just as Much as Women (if Not More)

Preparing for a baby? Don’t forget that your partner is half the equation. He needs prenatal nutrition at least as much as you, and possibly more. Why more? Surely, sperm is sperm. There can’t be much to it, can there?

Actually, there’s a lot more to the male side of things than you may have thought. Male factor accounts for 50 percent of all infertility and a good proportion of miscarriage. It’s worthy of a little thought and preparation.

To have any chance of pregnancy, your guy needs to deliver at least 15 million sperm per one milliliter of ejaculate. That seems like a big number until you consider that 15 million is actually about 10 times times less than what men used to deliver even a few decades ago. Sperm numbers (sperm counts) have been in free-fall for the last 50 years, and that’s making it harder and harder for the average man to father a baby.

Numbers are not the only hurdle. Your partner’s sperm must also have a normal morphology or shape, which means his sperm has the right genetic quality to do the job. Sperm morphology is often overlooked by doctors, but it can make or break your chance of pregnancy and a healthy baby. For example, poor sperm morphology can be the primary cause of either infertility or miscarriage.

Fortunately, both sperm count and sperm morphology can be greatly improved by lifestyle choices and nutrition. Here are some easy tips for the future father of your child.

Quit smoking

Smoking causes “DNA fragmentation” of sperm, which is just as bad as it sounds. DNA fragmentation is genetic damage of sperm, which can lead to infertility, increased chance of miscarriage, and even long-term health problems for your future child.   

Watch the belly

Abdominal obesity is another potential cause of low sperm count and DNA fragmentation. The problem is the high level of insulin associated with belly fat. Chronically elevated insulin reduces testosterone and impairs sperm production.

Cut back on booze

Alcohol is another sperm saboteur. According to a recent study out of Denmark, even a few drinks per week can impact sperm morphology and lead to alterations in fetal development and an increased risk of miscarriage.

Be careful with medications

Male fertility can also be impaired by common medications such as antibiotics, antidepressants, and anti-inflammatories. For example, the over-the-counter drug ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) was recently found to interfere with testosterone and sperm production.

Eat more vegetables

Salads are not just for potential mothers. Potential fathers can also benefit from the folate and other micronutrients in green leafy vegetables. Guys who eat their veggies have higher sperm motility and enhanced fertility.

Consider taking a male prenatal supplement

A healthy diet is the best source of sperm-building nutrients, but if you want an added boost, consider a male prenatal vitamin supplement. Unlike a female prenatal vitamin which is high in iron and calcium, your partner’s prenatal will feature the folate, coenzyme Q10, and zinc he needs to improve sperm count, sperm morphology, and pregnancy rate. Keep in mind that it takes three months to build new sperm. It will take that long to see any change.

Get tested

Trouble conceiving? Before you go down the path of intervention or even natural female fertility enhancement as discussed in my book Period Repair Manual, please get a sperm test. It’s simple and non-invasive and can even be done with a do-it-yourself home test! Self-testing is a great way to detect a problem. It also gives your partner the opportunity to track improvements from his new sperm-friendly diet and lifestyle.

Featured image by Sarah Dorweiler

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