When the topic of pre-pregnancy health is raised, most of the pressure normally falls on women. The reasons for this aren't surprising: the person who will be actually carrying the baby after conception is seen as the one for whom health is important, and a lot of men view their role in pregnancy as fairly minimal.
This is far from ideal, however, and men should take responsibility for the state of their health as an essential part of pregnancy planning. It helps raise the chances of conception, is important for the baby's health, and makes the whole process from conception to birth easier. Here are the things you should take care of.
Get a health check
Your first step should be to see your doctor for a general health check. This can highlight areas where you need to make improvements and may alert you to some issues you weren't aware of.
When you go for your health check, it's important to be honest with the doctor about your lifestyle. There's nothing to be gained from trying to appear healthier than you are, and you lose the opportunity to find out useful information.
Stress is a common problem, and it can have quite an impact on your chances of conceiving – even if it's just because your mind isn't in it.
There are numerous ways to reduce stress, from getting into meditation to looking at areas in your life where you can make changes. Dealing with your stress will not only help you conceive, it will also equip you to deal with parenthood and even make you a better dad.
Maximise your health
Even if you exercise regularly, there might be areas where you can improve. If you don't exercise, now is the time to start. Keeping your weight under control and generally improving your health are both ways to increase your sperm rate and quality, helping conception. You'll also be in better shape to cope with the stresses of raising a young child.
It should be obvious that eating a healthy diet is an integral part of your general wellbeing, so it helps your fertility. Minimise processed foods and try to get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
One point worth making is that you should be eating plenty of foods with folic acid. It's common knowledge that mothers-to-be need it, but not so well known that men without enough folic acid produce more sperm with abnormal chromosomes, which can lead to miscarriage or birth defects.
Start including plenty of dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans and citrus fruits in your diet before you try to conceive. For more information, talk to professionals at a local medical centre.