Recently, I spoke with preconception expert Amy Ogle, M.S., R.D., co-author of Before Your Pregnancy: A 90-Day Guide for Couples on How to Prepare for a Healthy Conception (Revised Edition). Most women know about good nutrition, not smoking, no alcohol and taking vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy, but the average male is clueless about what he needs to do to prepare for and deliver a healthy baby.
Examiner: What is the most important thing a man should know about conceiving a baby?
Ogle: I recommend couples prepare at least three months before they begin trying to conceive. It takes sperm two months to form, plus another three weeks to become available to fertilize the egg. When sperm cells begin to develop, they are assigned chromosomes that could some day deliver half of the genetic material needed to create a baby. That is why it is so important to give at least 90 days to prepare for pregnancy.
Examiner: What things should men do during this three-month preconception to ensure a healthy baby?
Ogle: A man's diet, whether he exercises and what he is exposed to in the environment during the 90 days can affect the health of his sperm. Eating whole foods rich in selenium, vitamins E and C, and folic acid will increase the health of sperm. Men should treat any medical conditions and ask a physician about the effects any medications they may be required to take can have on the developing baby. Sexually transmitted diseases can damage sperm, so these conditions must be addressed and treated.
Research shows that 20-30 minutes of cardio and physical activity every day has many health benefits for men prepping for pregnancy. Exercise can help lower inflammation, manage weight and lower stress, all of which boost fertility.
In addition to Ogle’s tips, those who are looking to support sperm health prior to trying to conceive, on an individual basis, can speak with their physician about supplements such as ProXeed® Plus for three to six months prior to trying to conceive. It’s also important to ask questions such as whether the ingredients are in amounts comparable to those that were used in clinical trials. Twice daily use of ProXeed® Plus, may benefit sperm quality in as little as 90 days. However, for maximum benefit it is recommended that ProXeed® Plus be taken for six months.*
The book Ogle co-authored is rich in detail about specifics couples can do to ensure conception and a healthy baby. It speaks to lifestyle habits, how the environment influences sperm count and diet and nutrition. Ogle's complete list of preconception health tips can be found at prepping4pregnancy.com. Men can also download a medical checklist to take with them when talking to the doctor about preconception health. There is a fun and informative quiz for want-to-be dads by ProXeed Plus, 'How Prepared Are You,' so men can see how prepared they are for a conceiving a healthy baby.
ProXeed® Plus, pronounced Prox'-eed, is an easy way to support male reproductive health and sperm quality by providing the nutrients needed for developing sperm. ProXeed® Plus can be ordered online in privacy.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure and prevent any disease.