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Ready for Fatherhood? 

There is more to making a baby than making love. All you expectant fathers should no longer think that pregnancy is just the job of the mother. Now you have to also do some work.
To start with, old time beliefs about wondrous powers of so-called fertility foods are pure fiction. But, that does not rule out the importance of a healthy lifestyle and good food habits. Good nutrition can greatly improve your chances of a quick transition from a husband to an expectant father.
Once you decide to have a baby, you both should choose a variety of low-fat, nutrient-rich foods from all types of food groups. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and dairy products each day will help ensure that you get the recommended dietary allowance of all the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal reproductive functioning. Read on for some specific guidelines for potential `future fathers'.

Food facts

  • Infertility is as much a man's issue as a woman's.  Over 40 percent of infertility problems can be traced to men. Therefore, eating healthy will boost your chances of conceiving a child. Nutrition has a direct impact on the potency of the sperm. All you wannabe-dads, junk the junk for a while and take to healthy eating mantra seriously.

  • Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, which cuts the risk of damaged sperms. Get more zinc in your diet. Zinc deficiencies can reduce semen volume and testosterone levels. Zinc sources include baked beans, chicken meat. Excessive amounts of zinc would not turn you into a baby making machine, There is, however, some scientific basis for the oyster recommendation as these are packed with the zinc nutrient. 

  • Increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D. These improve men's fertility. Good sources of calcium include low-fat milk and yoghurt. You'll find vitamin D in milk and salmon. 

  • Cut out or cut back on alcohol. While an occasional drink is generally considered safe, studies show that daily consumption of wine, beer or hard liquor can decrease testosterone levels and sperm counts.

  • A father's use of drugs can also cause birth defects, so drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are a total no-no. They can affect the brain chemistry responsible for releasing reproductive hormones.

Mend your lifestyle

  • Quit smoking - Smoking lowers sperm counts so it is advisable to stop smoking before attempting a pregnancy. It will optimise your chances of conceiving. Besides second-hand smoke can be dangerous for your partner and the baby.
  • Dump stress -Even minimal stress can decrease a man's testosterone levels and sperm count. Chilling out can increase your potency. So 'go for a holiday' advise actually works. Practice yoga, Reiki, meditation… anything you agree with to keep one up on the modern day malady - stress. It'll improve the quality of your life. 
  • Workplace hazards - Exposure to radiation and chemicals can damage sperms. It'll also lower sperm counts and cause genetic defects in children. If you're exposed to any such hazards on the job, ask for a temporary reassignment.
  • Avoid  certain medication- Many medications can cause fertility problems and lower sperm counts. Ask your physician about the safety of any over-the-counter medications that you are consuming while attempting a pregnancy. 
  • Avoid rough sports such as football, hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball, horseback riding - The danger is traumatic injury to genitals, which can hamper your ability to produce sperms or ejaculate. 
  • No to hot tubs, saunas, and tight-fitting clothes - Testicles function best when they keep their cool. Steamy spa equipment, snug jeans, synthetic shorts and bikini underwear can all overheat your testicles and inhibit sperm production.
  • Medical screenings- There are various screening tests that can be done prior to pregnancy so that if a medical problem is found, treatment can be completed (infections, sexually transmitted diseases) or the medical condition can be managed. Do go for these.
  • Genetic screenings - A pre-conception visit to your physician can include discussion of possible inherited birth defects. Information about the medical histories of both families should be discussed. Blood tests can be done to identify carriers of certain genetic disorders. That will offer reassurance that your future baby will not be at risk for that disorder. 
  • Read pregnancy - related books- Do take your role seriously and look up some books too, they'll give you quite a few pointers. For instance, `The expectant father, facts, tips and advice for dads to be', by Armin Brott
    The new fathers panic book: Everything a dad needs to know to welcome his bundle of joy,  by Gene B. Williams
    She's having a baby and I am having a breakdown, by James Douglas Barron 

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