The world of trying to conceive (or even “TTC”!) is colored pink, there’s no doubt about it. If you’re a guy who is hoping to become a dad soon, you may have some trouble navigating all that info about ovulation and menstrual cycles, to find something that’s relevant to you. Here’s a checklist for men who are trying to conceive, because we know you feel better when you are proactive!
Eliminating negative choices
First things first — smoking and drinking are most definitely poor choices when you are hoping to become a father. Drinking does more than damage your liver, and smoking does more than give you ling cancer — male fertility rapidly declines when you do either of these things. Your sperm count decreases, as well as the quality and speed of your sperm. Male smoking also has a directly impact on your partner’s fertility. Just quit. Drinking in moderation (a few drinks here and there, not every day!) is probably fine. Women are advised to give alcohol up altogether while they are trying to conceive, so you may consider doing the same thing in solidarity.
Ask your doctor
Everyone who is trying to conceive a baby should go for a general medical checkup with their family doctor. You should check for nutritional deficiencies, have your blood pressure measures, and have a chat about your medical history. Your doctor can assess whether you would benefit from genetic counseling. Sexually transmitted diseases should be on the menu as well — they are much more common than you think and often don’t have any symptoms. Women who have STDs can pass them on to their babies, sometimes with terrible consequences. Get checked, just in case!
Watch your weight
A healthy weight is, well, healthy. That includes your reproductive health. Men who are either overweight or obese, or on the other hand underweight, are more likely to struggle to get their partner pregnant. Your doctor may bring this up if you have a preconception checkup, but every guy should watch their own weight too.
Eat healthily (and take a supplement)
Eating a healthy and balanced diet could be seen as one and the same thing as watching your weight, but it’s possible to have a perfectly acceptable BMI and still eat a very inadequate diet. Eat foods from all major food groups, and skip the junk food whenever possible. Take a daily multivitamin supplement as well, just like your partner.
How much sex should you have? And when?
With all those ovulation calendars, cervical mucus talk, and so on, it may seem like only women play a role in determining the best times to have intercourse to get pregnant. Of course, having sex before and during a woman’s ovulation is absolutely crucial. Making sure you don’t ejaculate too often is important too, because this depletes your sperm count. Not having enough sex also interferes with sperm production. Try every other day, and remember that your sperm count will be highest in the morning.
Have you heard that men should avoid tight pants, especially if they are also synthetic? Overheating is actually really bad for your fertility. Having long hot baths, cycling with the wrong saddle, and having a computer in your lap are all things that can overheat the testicles and “fry” your sperm. The sperm production process should take place below body temperature, which is why the balls are outside of the body in the first place. Yes, stay away from those tight boxers, too.
Now that we’ve got the health stuff out of the way (it’s always good to be healthy, right?), we’ll move onto financial planning. Can you really afford a baby, and what sacrifices will that require? Are you planning on moving? What are your plans for family organization once the baby gets there? Are you going to be a two-income household, or would you like one parent to stay at home? Both will cost you — either in lost income, or childcare. Plan now, while you have the chance. See an accountant if possible.
Talk about parenting philosophies
Talking about parenting is another biggie. You get on with your partner well enough to want a baby with her, but different parenting philosophies cost you your marriage? Think about this seriously. What are some things you feel so strongly about that you are not willing to compromise on? And what do you want to avoid at all cost? Ask your partner to make a list, and do the same. Couples do divorce over this, so tackle this difficult topic while it’s not too late.