Men's Health, Women's Health, Pregnancy | January 12, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Considerable evidence reveals that nutritional status and lifestyle choices of both male and female before pregnancy can have a profound impact on future offspring health.
Eat a well-balanced diet.
It is recommended that mums use the 3-4 month pre-conceptual window to boost their nutritional status, and optimise their health and well-being before conception. As new sperm is made every 42-76, dads should maintain a similar diet for 3 months in order to improve sperm quality. This diet should include plenty of plant sources (vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains), along with some fish, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and with little consumption of lean red meat.
Be aware of your biological clock. One in six Australian couples have problems conceiving, according to the Department of Health. Age is one of the factors affecting fertility.
More and more women are choosing to have children at an older age, yet fertility is thought to decline once a woman passes the age of 28. The chance of having a healthy baby also decreases with age. Being an older mother, typically over the age of 34 years, increases the risk of having a baby with a birth defect, while fathers over the age of 40 have a 20% greater chance of having a baby born with a serious birth defect.
Avoid cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The World Health Organisation states that eliminating smoking before or during pregnancy could avoid 5–7% of preterm-related deaths and 23–24% of cases of sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking affects the quality of the eggs and sperm, and together with alcohol, both reduce men and women fertility.
Limit your caffeine consumption. High daily intake of caffeine (>300mg/d or ore than 2 cups of coffee per day) of both partners significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.
Avoid the use of recreational drugs and certain medications. For example, women should avoid exposure to teratogenic substances such as Accutane, and anti-seizure medications as they interfere with normal organ development, while men should avoid drugs that include steroids to prevent damage to sperm DNA. Furthermore, recreational drugs have also been linked to male infertility.
Maintain a healthy environment. Long term exposure to work-related chemicals, such as dyes, solvents, weed killers, as well as pesticides and cosmetics can affect a woman’s safety and ability to conceive, as well as cause DNA damage to the sperm, resulting in infertility or birth defects.
Exercise. Regular exercise is beneficial for weight loss, emotional well-being, and even fertility.
Reduce your stress. Maternal stress is associated with Infertility, miscarriages, late pregnancy complications, and impaired foetal development.
Acute stress has been shown to affect sperm quality.
Optimise pre-pregnancy weight. Women who are underweight before pregnancy (BMI under 18.5) are at significantly greater risk of preterm birth and small-for-gestational age babies. Additionally, it is suggested that maternal undernutrition is associated with increased risk of obesity and related chronic diseases of her offspring in later life.Similarly, maternal overweight and obesity preconception is linked to infertility and complications during pregnancy including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and delivery complications, as well as increased range of health risks for the offspring. Male obesity decreases male fertility.
Eating fish - Fish is rich in fatty acids that are essential to brain development. However, some women are concerned about mercury, which in high doses can harm developing nervous systems.
Food Authority recommends that pregnant women and women who are planning pregnancy limit consumption of catfish, orange roughy, shark and billfish (swordfish, marlin).
It is safe to eat fish that are lower in mercury, such as mackerel, salmon, snapper, trevally, herring and sardines 2-3 serves per week.
Prenatal vitamins. During pregnancy, your daily intake requirements for certain nutrients will increase. It is therefore important to achieve and maintain adequate nutrient status prior to conception. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the mother lead to deficiency in the foetus and newborn.
Men produce over 12 billion sperm per month. Thus, in order to increase the chance of conception and ensure a healthy DNA, it is vital for the male partner to optimise his sperm quality,
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