A new study shows she isn’t the only one who needs to plan ahead, for the sake of future kids, men’s health matters too.
It’s common knowledge that women need to take care of their bodies and health during pregnancy, the wellness of which directly affects the development of the child. And in recent years advice to women who are even thinking of becoming parents has expanded to include preparing before trying to conceive.
The CDC recommendation goes so far as to suggest that women start taking prenatal vitamins, specifically Folic Acid, as early as age fifteen.
The U. S. Public Health Service and CDC recommend that all women of childbearing age consume 0.4 mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid daily to prevent two common and serious birth defects, spina bifida and anencephaly.
All women between 15 and 45 years of age should consume folic acid daily because half of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned and because these birth defects occur very early in pregnancy (3-4 weeks after conception), before most women know they are pregnant.
CDC estimates that most of these birth defects could be prevented if this recommendation were followed before and during early pregnancy.
While it makes sense in a long term approach for women to prepare physically in advance, there is a new study looking at what role the health of the father plays beforehand as well.
A study out of McGill University in Montreal suggests that men’s food intake is just as important as women’s when it comes to conceiving a healthy child. Researchers focused on folate (vitamin B9), which is found in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits and meats. Pregnant women and women planning to conceive have long been advised to consume folate—the key ingredient in prenatal vitamins—to help prevent miscarriages and birth defects.
As it turns out, however, folate consumption may be just as important for men.
So men if you’re thinking of starting a family, or even if your sons are just beginning to become sexually active, perhaps you’d be wise to take a page from Women’s health and invest in your/their prenatal nutrition needs as well.