It’s science: 5 ways men can affect our pregnancies

We always knew you were important too, dad ?

It’s science: 5 ways men can affect our pregnancies

When it comes to pregnancy, women are the stars of the show. We are the trackers of ovulation, the pee-ers on the stick, the one going to all those appointments, and of course, the warriors giving birth.

But men are pretty important too—we always knew that, don’t worry—but scientific research is now backing it up.

Of course, it is absolutely possible for women to have healthy pregnancies, awesome births and thriving children when a father isn’t present.

But for those men out there who feel like they are simply backstage for all of this, here are five ways that a dad (or future dad) can affect conception, pregnancy and beyond among heterosexual couples:

1. They have to worry about coffee, too

To reduce the risk of miscarriage, researchers suggest drinking no more than two caffeinated beverages—no matter if the one drinking them is the expecting mother or father.

Dr. Buck Louis of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says, “Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too... Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females.” So cut down on the coffee and hop into bed a bit earlier as a couple.

2. And drinking

We’ve all heard that women should limit their alcohol intake when they are trying to get pregnant—but it looks like this might apply to dads, too!

In a groundbreaking study, researchers found that male mice who consumed alcohol at the time of conception were more likely to have unhealthy fetuses than the mice who just drank water.

More studies need to be done about the extent of this concern. However Cynthia Daniels of Rutgers University told The Guardian, “"If you minimize your exposure to toxic substances then you might minimize your risks of reproductive harm."

This goes for smoking too. Tobacco use prior to and during conception can cause changes in sperm as well.

3. Weight matters

Men who are at a healthy body mass index (BMI) have a better chances of conception than men who are overweight. Scientists are starting to find that there are changes within the sperm that can make them less healthy when a man is overweight.

In fact, the children of men who are overweight at the time of conception may actually be at risk for health problems later in life, such as diabetes. Good news though—diet and weight loss can help to reverse these sperm problems before they start.

Psst: Check out our guide to fertility boosting foods for guys.

4. And so does touch

Research has found that when a partner holds your hand during labor, your pain levels will actually decrease—significantly. So, make sure you get to those birth classes—and make it a date night!

Or, take our birth class from the comfort of your couch. Just sayin’ ?.

5. Be present

Women with partners who are involved and present during their pregnancies are less likely to suffer from depression, and are more likely to have overall mental health well-being.

Also, infants with fathers who were are involved with the pregnancy were more likely to be carried to full term, be born at a healthy weight, and to have a healthy first year.

And in his book Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked, Paul Raeburn writes that fathers who are involved in pregnancies (regardless of if he is in a relationship with the mother or not), are more likely to be involved moving forward in the child’s life as well.

So yes, moms. You still deserve the chocolate, foot rubs and push presents. You just may have to share a little with your dude—he’s pretty important too.

In This Article

    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners
    Sunday Citizen

    I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

    If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

    So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

    Keep reading Show less

    25+ Halloween movies for kid, by age

    These capture the goofy, spooky and sweet aspects of Halloween. Boo.

    My family loves watching Halloween movies to get into the spooky spirit.

    Of course, every kid has a different threshold for what they consider too scary. With most of these selections, there are links to Common Sense Media, where you can read more about the content of the films (along with reviews from other parents and kids).

    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play