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    Preconception Care For Men & Women: An Updated Guide

    In the past, preconception care was a concept that was most associated only with women. But that could not be further from the truth. Here’s why. 

    Over time, we have come to understand that preconception care should matter equally to both men and women who seek to bear children. After all, it takes two opposite reproductive cells from a man and woman to form a baby. As such, even men of child-bearing age should be conscious of their health, just as their female counterparts are. This article will give a detailed guide on what men and women should do to keep their fertility rates at the optimum. It will also cover what they should avoid that could ruin their chances of procreation. 

    Preconception Care For Men

    Yes, diet matters

    Healthy eating habits are as important for everyday growth and productivity as they are essential in boosting sperm count and quality in men. Foods that have been found to be rich in fertility-stimulating nutrients are: tomatoes, walnuts, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, etc. Make sure to also avoid smoking, illicit drugs and excessive alcohol intake. These could lead to low sperm quality and birth defects.

    Watch your body weight

    Just as a high body mass index (BMI) can impact negatively on your fertility rate, being underweight would also wreak havoc. Therefore, part of preconception care means being conscious of what you eat and taking time to exercise regularly. Make sure to avoid stressors that could lead weight loss, hormonal imbalance and poor mental health.

    Heat is not your friend

    You must have heard this plenty of times but you should take this seriously. Stay away from tight underwear, jeans and tight clothing in general. You should also avoid exposing yourself to hot weather conditions if you want to produce healthy sperm. In the same vein, avoid placing your laptop on your thighs. The heat emanating from it affects your testicles negatively and could decrease sperm production and viability.

    Your doctor is your friend

    For every man looking to start a family or boost their fertility rate, visits to the hospital should be a priority. Your doctor will examine you, review your medical and family history, and check problems that could affect your fertility chances. Concerns such as sexual transmitted infections, genetic problems, unhealthy lifestyle habits, could make a world of a difference if discovered on time.

    Preconception Health & Women

    Preconception care for women has never been as serious an affair as it is in this age and time. This is a result of the increasing rates of infertility and maternal mortality. Even for women who are not looking to get pregnant immediately, the following tips could literally save your life and that of your unborn child. It is not too early to start making your health and fitness a priority. Women of child-bearing age should always put their health first and take great care of their bodies. This is important even when they are not trying to get pregnant. Firstly, the habits you cultivate today could make or break your fertility journey years from now. Secondly, research has shown that 50% of all pregnancies are not planned. Therefore, you should start to watch the things you eat today. Stay fit and avoid harmful substances like alcohol, nicotine and drugs.

    Supplements! Supplements! And more supplements!

    If you are looking to start a family soon, you should take your supplements seriously. These include folic acid, vitamins and iron tablets. Folic acids help to prevent common birth defects in children like spina bifida and cognitive impairment. Therefore, it is important to take your supplements religiously

    Book an appointment with your gynaecologist beforehand

    Women trying to get pregnant should consult with their doctor immediately. In fact, if you are sexually active, you should already be on close terms with your gynaecologist. Your doctor will ensure that you are in the best possible state to get pregnant and keep a healthy foetus. This sits at the very heart of preconception care as your medical history, physical examinations and clinical findings will help your doctor guide you appropriately on your important journey to motherhood. Your doctor will advise you on your prescription or over-the-counter drugs, blood pressure, body weight, vaccines, family planning, and most importantly, how to maintain optimum health before, during and after childbirth

    Do not underestimate the role of your partner

    Women about to get pregnant should never forget that their partners matter. Unless you are using a sperm donor (and that is okay too!), you and your partner must work as a team to ensure optimum fertility levels and best health outcome for your future child

    This preconception care guide should serve as a daily note for adult men and women and especially for intending parents. This is wishing you a successful fertility journey from here. 

    References:

    1. https://www.cdc.gov/preconception/women.html
    2. https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/preconception-health
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