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Are you the male half of a couple that's trying to conceive or thinking about it? It's not at all impossible that all this "TTC" stuff is driving you crazy before you even ditch the contraceptives. It might take two to tango, but nearly all information about getting pregnant is geared towards women. Ovulation, cervical mucus, luteal phases, menstruation, folic acid supplements, no more alcohol, pink storks, cute flowers, and lovely terms like "babydancing" could be invading your life.
OK, some of that stuff is really important and many women are weirded out by all those cutesy words and concepts too. Despite that, you may be feeling left out. That should be fixed — not just because "daddies" are important too and your feelings should be hurt (haha), but because your preconception health matters just as much. So, what steps should guys who want to be dads take?
Go For That Preconception Checkup
Not every couple sees a doctor before they try to add to their family. If you have the chance, (which you do, unless your partner gets pregnant accidentally) do go and get that preconception checkup together. Women may need intrauterine devices removed and they benefit from a general gynecological checkup. You should both really be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and nutritional deficiencies before you start trying to conceive.
Both men and women who are trying to conceive should ideally be at a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and eat well. We'll get there later, but it's likely your family doctor will discuss these things with you both if you do get that preconception checkup. Alcohol and cigarettes are also bound to come up during your preconception visit. Neither women nor men who are trying to conceive should be smoking.
Finally, you should discuss any prescription and over-the-counter medication you are taking with your doctor. Some medications have a negative impact on fertility, while others are completely incompatible with trying to conceive. Men who are undergoing chemotherapy should not be trying for a baby for a good while, for instance. If you have asthma, ulcers, or gastrointestinal issues you may also be taking drugs that lower your fertility. Your doctor may have alternative treatment options for you, or you may temporarily stop treatment. In any case, this needs to be discussed.
Alcohol For Future Fathers?
Women who want to get pregnant should really drink any alcohol at all, because they could theoretically be pregnant almost all of the time and even small amounts of alcohol can do great harm during early pregnancy. Men should also be really careful with the booze. Too much alcohol lowers your testosterone levels, reduces your sperm count, and lowers its quality. Excessive alcohol intake is also bad news for your libido and can even lead to (temporary) impotence, a phenomenon many men are familiar with. Oh, and an intoxicated partner isn't sexy unless you've been drinking yourself, so your other half might not be too pleased either.