Pregnancy: Nutrition for dads. Is it important?

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Pregnancy w/ author Bridget Swinney—Tips to maximize health of baby – part 3

In our third of three interviews, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Eating Expectantly: Practical Advice for Healthy Eating Before, During and After PregnancyPregnancy: Nutrition for dads. Is it important?, and I discussed ways that the men contribute to the health of the baby. (To watch video, scroll to bottom or click here)

Nutrition for dads

Neily: I am with Bridget Swinney. She is a pre-natal and childhood specialist and author of Eating Expectantly: Practical Advice for Healthy Eating Before, During and After PregnancyPregnancy: Nutrition for dads. Is it important?, coming out in 2013. We talked about women who are overweight, normal weight women. Now, what about the dads?
Bridget: Most people think that dads just contribute that Y chromosome. Really, their role is much greater than that.

A dad’s diet before their wife conceives can actually affect the chances of his wife becoming pregnant. But it can also affect the health of his child. So it is very exciting for men to now know that they can improve their diet, follow the same pre-pregnancy diet that their wives follow— rich in fruits and vegetables, watching saturated fats.

A heart healthy diet is really important for sperm function. In fact, recent studies show that men who ate walnuts daily, about 75 gm a day had actually improved the quality of their sperm and cut down on chromosomal defects. Which is really exciting that one simple addition to your diet can make a difference to future generations.

Neily: 75 grams?
Bridget: That’s just a little over 2.5 ounces. So, it is definitely a hefty serving but if you think about men eating chips or crackers or something like that, it is a pretty easy substitution.
Neily: And an ounce is roughly about a handful.
Bridget: Right. Walnuts are pretty big so a hefty handful would be 2.5 ounces. Another thing that men can do is watch the antioxidants in their diet, specially vitamins E and C because that also plays a big role in chromosomal damage. Men who do not have enough vitamin C in their diet tend to have more damage of their sperm, which can transfer to birth defects. Men really need to be eating their fruits and vegetables also.
Neily: So, if a family is having trouble with pregnancy, then not just looking at mom’s diet but also dad’s diet… that’s important to know.
Bridget: Yes. You know, a lot of times with infertility, the causes are unknown. And we are suspecting more and more that diet may be the factor that nobody has looked at.
Neily: That’s why you need registered dietitians!
Bridget: Right.
Neily: Great. Thanks so much! Bridget Swinney, author of ‘Eating Expectantly’.

Jennifer “Neily” Neily, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Registered dietitian nutritionist and certified health coach

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