What can men do to support the preconception health of their female partners and their future babies?

Men can make a big difference in promoting good preconception health. As boyfriends, husbands, fathers-to-be, partners, and family members, they can learn how their loved ones can achieve optimal preconception health. They can encourage and support women in every aspect of preparing for pregnancy.

There are other ways men can help. Men who work with chemicals or other toxins need to be careful that they don’t expose women to them. For example, men who use fertilizers or pesticides in agricultural jobs should change out of dirty work clothes before coming near their female partners. They should handle and wash soiled clothes separately.  See our article on reproductive hazards.

The family health histories of men are also important when planning a pregnancy. Understanding genetic risks from both sides enables providers to give more accurate advice. Screening for and treating STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in men can help make sure that the infections are not passed to female partners. Men can improve their own reproductive health by reducing stress, eating right, taking a daily multi-vitamin, avoiding excessive alcohol use, not smoking, and talking to their health care providers about their own medications. It is also important for men who smoke to stop smoking around their partners, to avoid the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.