It takes two to make a baby, so you're not the only one who should be taking extra care of yourself if you're attempting to get pregnant. Here are 10 things your partner should avoid while trying to conceive.
According to the CDC, some studies have shown that moderate drinking might protect against DNA damage. On the other hand, other studies have shown that alcohol can negatively impact a man's fertility. Alcohol intake has been shown to cause sperm abnormalities and slow down sperm production. A few drinks here or there is fine, but he shouldn't regularly overdo it. Besides that, a lot of men don't perform well sexually when they've had too much to drink.
Smoking causes low sperm count and slows sperm down. It's best if your partner quits smoking as soon as possible, but you definitely want him to kick the habit three months before you start trying to conceive. Because sperm production takes about three months, you won't see any positive changes until then.
Drugs that make you feel high might make a man's sperm count very low. The THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana mimics testosterone, which causes a hormonal imbalance, making sperm counts fall. Pot isn't the only drug that can affect male hormones. Narcotics use can cause testosterone levels to take a dive, taking sperm production and sex drive right along with it.
Prescription medicines, like chemotherapy drugs, steroids, antidepressants, and medications that treat gastrointestinal issues and blood pressure can also negatively impact a man's sperm count. Talk to your doctor about the prescriptions you are using and find out if there are fertility-friendly alternatives.
While there is no hard evidence to suggest that moderate caffeine consumption can impact sperm count, excessive caffeine intake can have an adverse effect on sperm quality. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that the number and concentration of sperm were slightly reduced in a group of over 2,000 Danish men who had a high weekly intake of caffeinated soda.
The results of the study are a little unclear, however, because the men with the higher consumption of caffeine also tended to have other not-so-healthy habits, such as smoking, drinking, and eating less healthy food.
The results of a 2014 study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have given researchers cause to believe that caffeine may harm sperm. Men who drank two or more cups of strong coffee a day had just a one in five chance of becoming fathers through IVF. For men who drank less than a cup of coffee per day, their chance of having a child rose just over 50%.
The thought is that the chemicals in soy products mimic estrogen, and higher levels of estrogen can decrease a man's ability to lose fat. Some studies have also shown that men with diets containing soy foods have a lower sperm count, but these are also diets that contain a high amount of soy. It's best to talk to your doctor and consider just how much soy you're really getting in your diet.
Heat can really hurt sperm. A 2007 study found that men who regularly use a hot tub or take hot baths can damage their sperm cells, at least temporarily.
The heat factor brings up an important question: boxers or briefs? Can your partner's underwear really affect his fertility? A lot of doctors say yes. Sperm is produced in the testicles, and the testicles hang outside the body to keep everything nice and cool. If things get too hot, sperm production slows down.
If you are trying to conceive and your man normally wears briefs, it might be time to make a switch! It takes 10-12 weeks for sperm to be produced, so there won't be any dramatic overnight changes when he switches to boxers.
High levels of stress can cause a decrease in sperm function. While trying to conceive, encourage your man to spend time relaxing and doing things that he enjoys.
Trying to conceive can be stressful for both of you, especially if you have been trying for a while or there are concerns about infertility. Sex can become frustrating if things don't seem to be working the way they should, and one or both partners may feel shame if they are concerned that something is wrong. Sex may begin to feel like a chore and if you're worried about when you ovulate and timing things just right, that can take the fun out of it.
Where do most guys keep their cell phones? In their pants pockets. Not a good idea! Eight out of nine studies on cell phone usage recently reviewed by the University of California, Berkeley, reported adverse effects on sperm count, motility, viability, and/or morphology or form of the sperm. Cell phone radiation was shown to have decreased sperm motility or movement in 6 out of 8 studies. Other research has shown that sperm exposed to electromagnetic waves from cell phones have lower motility as well as a lower percentage of viable sperm.
In addition to cell phones, studies have proved sperm can also be damaged from using a laptop that has a wireless connection to the Internet.
Maintaining a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet can help your man's swimmers stay strong. Just like you, he should be making sure to get enough folic acid in his diet. In a University of California Berkeley study, men with lower levels of folic acid in their diet had a higher rate of abnormalities in their sperm.
When an abnormal sperm fertilizes an egg, it may cause birth defects or a miscarriage. So, make sure you're both getting your folic acid by eating lots of leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and citrus fruits! Also good to know--a recent study has found that the nutritional supplement coenzyme Q can help boost sperm production, sperm count, and motility.
Your partner should consider getting a preconception checkup just like you. The doctor can check out his weight, discuss his lifestyle and health history, and possibly screen him for any genetic disorders that he may pass on to the baby.