Did you know that Men’s Health Week is observed each year the week leading up to Father’s Day. This year it’ll take place from June 15-21. It’s a time when organizations come together to remind all men of the steps they can take to improve their health. We take this time to encourage all future dads-to-be that their preconception health matters—men’s health before pregnancy is important too!
Dad’s health is important for his future baby
There’s a lot you can do to get ready for your partner’s pregnancy. The healthier you are, the healthier your partner and baby can be. Here are some things you can do to help you get ready to be a dad:
- Get an annual medical checkup. At your checkup, talk to your health care provider about your reproductive history. This is a record of any pregnancies or problems with pregnancy that you or your partner have had. At your checkup, you can review your family health history. This is a record of any health conditions and treatments that you, your partner and everyone in both of your families have had. You can take your own family health history and share it with your provider. Use the family health history form at marchofdimes.org/ familyhealthhistory.
- Get any health conditions under control. Health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Some health conditions can affect your fertility.
- Manage your stress. Stress can affect your sperm so it’s harder for you to get your partner pregnant. Sperm is what fertilizes your partner’s egg to get her pregnant. Stress can affect how much you eat and sleep. It can make you more likely to get sick. It may make you more likely to smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. These things only make stress worse.
- Stop smoking, using harmful drugs and drinking too much alcohol. All these behaviors can negatively affect your fertility. And they can affect you and your baby, too. For example, a pregnant woman who is exposed to secondhand smoke has a higher chance of having a baby with low birthweight than women not exposed. The smoke from cigarettes also increases health problems in babies, like ear infections, respiratory problems and sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS).
- Prevent sexually transmitted infections (also called STIs). An STI is an infection you can get from having unprotected sex or intimate physical contact with someone who is infected. STIs can be harmful to pregnant women and their babies and cause problems like premature birth, birth defects, miscarriage and stillbirth.
Take care of your health beyond Men’s Health Week
These are just some of the things you can do for better health—no matter if you and your partner plan to have a baby soon or not. Not ready to be a dad? Be sure to talk about your reproductive life plan with your partner. You may not agree on every answer, so you may need some time to figure things out. There are no right or wrong answers. And your answers may change as you get older.
To learn more visit our becoming a dad page and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Men’s Health Week page.