A vast amount of time is focused on mom when it's time to conceive. Doctors and researchers tell women who want to get pregnant what to eat, how much to weigh, and what habits they should give up in order to try to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. This advice is solid and should be followed, but what about dads?
Men are much more than just donors when it comes to having children, but the specimen they do donate affects children throughout life. It can also make pregnancy easier or harder for mom, and dad's behavior and habits matter when it's time to conceive. Unfortunately, men don't receive the lectures and tips women do, so they often go about their normal routines without thinking of what they can do to ensure a better future for their offspring.
Recent research proves that men should be just as concerned about their sperm and the genes they are passing on as women should, and it's not wise to ignore the science. Moms and babies can be put at risk for complications that might be avoidable with a few wise moves from dads.
The good news is that men create new sperm on a regular basis. If dad changes bad habits before attempting to get mom pregnant, it's possible to avoid long-term negative effects in certain cases. However, there are other factors that can't be changed, and mom and dad need to know about those going in so they can be better prepared.
15 The Big C
Both parents offer genes to their child, so when the egg meets the sperm, the child who is formed gets pieces of both mom and dad. In recent studies it's been show that when the sperm comes from an obese father, the child who is conceived will have a higher chance of brain cancer.
The fact that a woman's weight affects the pregnancy and the child has been known for a while. Women have been warned to gain enough weight but not too much weight while pregnant, and everything from preterm labor to gestational diabetes has been connected to mom being too heavy while pregnant. However, dads continue to eat the greasy burgers, drink the soft drinks, and have dessert because they assume it doesn't matter.
After they impregnate mom it really doesn't, but before they do, they need to clean up their diets. An increased risk of brain cancer for their children should be enough motive for them to lay off the junk food and exercise.
14 Funky Junk
Sexually transmitted infections can be passed through sexual activity, obviously, and so when mom becomes pregnant by a man who also gives her an STI, she and the baby may suffer. That's why it's imperative for women to be tested for STIs. Many can be treated during pregnancy to ensure they don't harm the baby, but not if mom and the doctor don’t know about them.
There are other STIs that can cause problems right from the beginning. Gonorrhea leaves mom open to a higher risk of delivering the baby early or having a miscarriage. However, if it's treated mom and the baby should be okay.
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is also dangerous for mom and baby, but if mom knows her partner has given it to her, doctors can work with her to make sure they avoid as much damage as possible. Mom may be discouraged from having a vaginal delivery and will be told not to breastfeed if she is HIV positive.
13 Chromosome 21 Trouble
Women know that their chances of having a child with Downs syndrome increase with age. What most people don't know is that women aren't the only ones who determine a child's risk of developing Down syndrome. A man who is older when he impregnates a woman also increases the risk of the baby having Downs syndrome.
It's now been found that chromosome 21 may be the key to why. Extra genetic material attaches to this chromosome, and this is being blamed for why men with older sperm are more likely to have a child with Down's syndrome.
When it comes to genetics, each person offers a portion. Conditions that have long been blamed on mom's age or genes are now being reevaluated, and it's now obvious that the quality and age of a man's sperm also plays a huge part. This is worth considering when trying to conceive.
12 No Baby Drama
In cases of infertility, men are just as likely to have problems that prohibit a pregnancy as women. However, we tend to hear more about female infertility because it usually requires the most intervention.
A man may have such a low sperm count that there aren't enough to ensure one makes it to mom's egg. At other times there are plenty of sperm, but they are simply not moving the way they should. A sperm that won't go get the egg isn't much good to a woman hoping to conceive.
Infertility is hard no matter what the cause, and it can be painful and damaging for both people in the relationship to go through the loss of what they thought their family would be. However, it's best for men to be tested for fertility issues first. The testing is less invasive, and so are the interventions that take place if any are possible. As an act of kindness towards mom, men need to make the appointment with the doctors and do what they need to to find out if something is wrong.
11 Passing Down The Pounds
Fat shaming happens to pregnant women all the time and is never okay. People jump in and tell mom that she is endangering her child and her pregnancy by being overweight. Oddly, we never see this happen to dads, but a man's weight also affects his offspring.
Men who are overweight and have children are more likely to have children who struggle with obesity. That's why a healthy diet and exercise plan are important before dad makes a sperm donation to mom to try to have a baby.
Obesity can cause health issues for a child long-term, plus it will also mean that the obese child will have a stronger chance of having obese children if the weight issue is not taken care of. This is an easy fix since losing weight before getting someone pregnant is all that needs to be done to decrease the risk. That's what researchers believe, and that offers hope for those still wanting to keep their children's risks low.
10 On The Spectrum
Autism rates have skyrocketed in recent years, leaving many people wondering what is causing the increase in this condition. Though there's no definitive answer and tons of speculation, researchers have found one link: the age of dad.
Children born to older dads are more likely to be diagnosed with autism, and researchers think that's because of the sperm quality. Men produce sperm throughout their lives, but that doesn't mean it's all quality. As dads age, the quality of their sperm can decrease, leaving the children created by that sperm open to certain conditions, autism being one of them.
While doctors tend to tell women not to wait too long to have children because age can complicate things, they don't always offer dads the same advice. Research says they should. It's true that no parents should rush into having kids if they aren't ready, but it's also important that both genders know the risks of waiting.
9 Boozing Blues
Obviously, women need to stop drinking alcohol the minute they start trying to conceive. In fact, it's best to start months before trying to get pregnant. However, men aren't off the hook. As soon as mom decides to stop drinking, dad needs to join in.
Studies show that a whopping three-fourths of children who were diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome had at least one thing in common: alcoholic fathers. These children may have had severe or less severe cases, but researchers believe that alcohol may have affected the quality of these men's sperm, therefore causing their children to suffer from abnormalities.
Not drinking to support mom while she goes without during pregnancy is fine, but men need to think about preparing their bodies for conception just like women. Dads don't need to drink before mom gets pregnant either so their sperm won't be affected and harm their babies.
8 Brain Imbalances
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes sufferers to break from reality in scary ways. About one percent of the population suffers from this brain condition that causes patients to deal with delusions, withdraw from personal relationships, or suffer from hallucinations.
There can be many issues that cause schizophrenia, but dad's age when he gets mom pregnant is one. The same research that connected autism to older dads found that children of older dads also suffered from schizophrenia more often. It was a startling find, one that researchers hope will make dads exercise caution when deciding when to have kids.
Just because dads can get women pregnant, even as the men age into their 60s and 70s, doesn't mean they should. Older sperm may mean less quality, and that is a big risk to take when the stakes are so high. Autism and schizophrenia both affect the brain and are both long-term conditions.
7 Heart Drama Down The Generations
Here's something super scary: dads who have poor diets not only affect their children. They affect their grandchildren, causing a multi-generational wave that leaves all parties involved at a higher risk of heart disease.
Studies that found this were startling, but that's how important dad taking care of himself is. The genes he passes on through his sperm can cause issues for kids that he hasn't even met, and that's a pretty huge responsibility. Eating a healthy diet that is heart-friendly is key, and dad should do this before impregnating mom. Ideally, he will stick to heart-healthy habits throughout life and set an example for his kids. He can help them not inherit heart problems and then also teach them how to not create them by providing good examples of how to eat.
If the temptation for fast food burgers and fries grows too strong, dad just needs to think about explaining to his kids that he put them and their future children at risk for some greasy food. It's not worth it.
6 Problems Prior To The Due Date
It's true that many men do worry about having sex with their partners when they are pregnant. Can it hurt the baby? Well, unless mom has been told not to have sex due to concerns, no. However, if she has and dad still wants to get freaky, he needs to remember that his sperm has powers, and they can work for the evil side.
Semen, the material that carries sperm, contains prostaglandins, and those can ripen mom's cervix. That is good news for a woman who is 40 weeks pregnant and wants to get the party started, but it's not great news for a woman who is only 30 weeks and on bed rest because of the fears of preterm labor. Women are told not have sex because the risk to mom and they baby is too high.
Plus, if the sex is good and mom climaxes, her uterus may start to contract. This can start labor, and if mom is already at risk for preterm labor, that can be a problem. Men should not push a woman to have sex if a doctor has told her not to.
5 Creating Forever Worry
Dad's sperm doesn't just affect his kids and partner. Research shows that there are consequences to our choices, and that even our grandchildren may suffer. The increased risk of heart problems that is passed down to kids whose fathers had less-than-stellar eating habits is also passed down to the next generation. Grandchildren can be affected.
Plus, raising a kid in a home where alcohol or tobacco use is the norm or where good health isn't modeled may lead them to make the same bad choices. This will increase multi-generational risks.
Whether the risk of autism and other brain disorders increases for several generations is not clear, but the heart disease connection has been made. It is possible that other issues coming from dad's sperm will be associated with long-term problems in future generations, so it's something to remember when dad is making decisions about how to care for himself prior to conception.
4 Don't Drink It
Women know to limit caffeine intake when pregnant. In fact, singer Pink was called out on the Internet when she dared to even drink decaf and post a picture on Instagram. However, women aren't the only ones who need to limit their caffeine intake.
Studies now show that mom and dad need to lay off the caffeinated beverages before trying to conceive. The weeks leading up to conception matter, and if dad is still throwing back sodas or coffee without checking to make sure he is below the two cup limit, mom may suffer a miscarriage, ending a pregnancy before it even had a chance to fully start.
It's best if mom and dad talk about what diet they need to be on together prior to trying to conceive, and it's important that dad takes it seriously. Just because he's not the one carrying the baby doesn't mean he doesn't have a huge effect on the outcome.
3 Puffing Problems
Women who smoke when trying to conceive or while pregnant get the stink eye from pretty much everyone, and that's understandable. Cigarettes are toxic, and mom is huffing in dangerous chemicals for two if she does this while pregnant. Smoking before trying to conceive can even leave mom at a higher risk for miscarriages.
However, even if mom isn't puffing away anymore, dad can still put her and the baby at risk. A dad who smokes may have sperm that is altered from this disgusting habit. The sperm he offers isn't quality, and this can lead to miscarriages.
Both partners need to kick the nicotine habit before mom gets pregnant. Not doing so can lead to infertility, miscarriage, and other problems for the baby. Babies who live in a house with smokers are also at a higher risk of succumbing to sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS).
2 Keeping Everyone On Edge
Dad's need to take yoga, meditate, or find some way to manage stress, just like mom does. Research on how stress affects the baby when it's coming from mom is vast, but researchers have now found links between dads' stress levels and their children.
Super stressed out dads leave their babies open to experiencing stress. They are more at risk for struggling with being stressed out, and this may be because their dads were big balls of stress when they were conceived.
Issues with infertility or worrying about how to provide for a child create tons of stress for couples while they are trying to make a baby, but it's imperative that both mom and dad find ways to handles this stress and release it. If they don't, the effects on their children may be profound.
If neither partner knows how to go about learning to relax, they can talk to their doctors. Doctors can offer advice for how to constructively manage life's struggles without losing our minds.
1 Spreading It Around
Dad's sperm doesn't just hurt mom and baby by not being healthy enough for the pregnancy. The swimmers can hurt everyone in the family if he doesn't stay faithful to his partner and causes mom a ton of unnecessary stress while she is pregnant.
Women are going to go through normal stress while pregnant, but the kind of stress a woman will experience after finding out her partner cheated is extreme, especially if she is pregnant. Long-term, extreme stress can lead to miscarriages. It can also lead to problems for the baby after birth.
A woman who is betrayed and then left to figure out how to provide for and raise a child on her own is going to be stressed. That's why decent guys stay faithful to the women who are having their babies. If they are spreading their swimmers around to other people, everyone gets hurt in the end.