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6 Ways Dad Can Prep for Pregnancy

Dad's health matters when you're having a baby.

6 Ways Dad Can Prep for Pregnancy

Hey, dad! Nice to see you here. A little bird told us that you are trying to conceive, so let's cut to the chase now, shall we? Although mom will be the one carrying baby for nine months, she no longer is the only one carrying the burden of healthful living. That's right, it takes two to tango... er, make a baby, and there's now growing evidence that dad's health matters just as much as mom's.

Research has shown that dad's habits can deter sperm's health. If dad's sperm is in bad shape, it will have a harder time traveling all the way up to the ovary and penetrating the egg, therefore making it more difficult to conceive. So how can you ensure that your little soldiers are up to the task? Here are 6 lifestyle changes you can make to keep yourself (and your boys) in tip-toe shape.

  1. Schedule a physical and doctor's visit. It's important to speak to your doctor about your decision to have a baby with your partner. Your doctor will help assess your current lifestyle and make necessary changes before you start trying. The habits to keep an eye on are diet, work, sleep and exercising. Your doctor is also likely to review the medications (if any) that you are taking to make sure they do not interfere with your ability to conceive.
  2. Focus on a long-term exercise routine. Dad's mental health and physical health are both important components to a successful conception and a healthy pregnancy. That's why you need to take a look at your current day-to-day and make sure that you keep your stress in check and remain at a healthy weight -- and exercising can do both at once: it can help you sleep better, lower your stress and create overall healthy patterns. If you are too busy for a full-on workout routine, exercising 15 minutes twice a week can do wonders. Another way to be more active is to switch up public transportation for a brisk walk to work -- it will wake you up and get the blood flowing.
  3. Review your diet. What dads-to-be eat can affect the quality of their sperm, and therefore fertility. When in doubt, it's important to reach out to a dietitian to create a nutritious and wholesome eating plan. Foods high in zinc such as meat, seafood, and eggs could increase your fertility. Foods high in Vitamin E (an important antioxidant) such as sunflower seeds or almonds have been associated with a stronger semen quality.
  4. Curb your alcohol intake (and nix the drugs). Alcohol and drugs can alter the body's zinc levels, and they both can reduce sperm production and cause sperm abnormalities. So if you are hoping to soon become a dad, remember to limit your alcohol intake and stay hydrated between refills. Do you need a little more convincing? Many men don't perform as well when inebriated, which in and of itself can also affect your ability to conceive. As for drugs, it's best to inquire about all of them -- from prescription meds to herbal supplements.
  5. Take a breather from technology. Experts believe that the reproductive health of the average male is in decline, and the electromagnetic radiation that wireless communication emits is partly to blame. What's more, laptops can wreck havoc on semen simply by being hot. So try to limit your exposure to wi-fi and smartphone devices, and leave all technology out of the bedroom -- it may even help you sleep better.
  6. Stay away from toxins. Exposure to certain agents such as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, lead, nickel, mercury, chromium and benzene can do a number on men's members and possibly be detrimental to their fertility. So familiarize yourself with your environment, know what you buy and consume, and make sure to wash any fruits and vegetables you eat. If you work around potentially harmful chemicals, limit exposure by wearing a face mask and protective clothing. Don't forget to use proper ventilation.

Dad, you're as important as mothers -- before, during and after pregnancy! We care about your health and wish nothing but the best for you.

Photography by Red Anchor Photo for Well Rounded NY.

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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