Why Men Hoping to Become Fathers Should be Taking Prenatal Vitamins

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People are quick to assume prenatal vitamins are for pregnant women only. And while it’s true that prenatals are key for women during their pregnancies, there’s more to the story. A prenatal vitamin is ideal for supporting a woman’s fertility during the preconception care stage, which is well before a pregnancy begins, and also during postpartum – the benefits aren’t limited to those wild forty weeks. And perhaps surprisingly, men benefit from prenatal vitamins just as much as women, and it’s something that one company is determined to make common knowledge.

The Repercussions of Sperm Health

“With a little research, two things became really clear to me,” says Beli founder Joni Hanson Davis. “One, sperm health plays a huge role in everything from conception to the health of the health of future generations. And two, men experience fertility issues just like women do.” 

She’s right. The health of a man during the preconception window, or roughly three to six months prior to conception, directly impacts his partner’s future pregnancy and the long-term health of their baby. That’s why experts recommend using this timeframe to prioritize a healthy lifestyle. In addition to regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and minimizing bad habits like too much alcohol or recreational drug use, men will also benefit from a daily prenatal vitamin. That’s because the right conditions can optimize fertility. And for men, it all comes down to healthy sperm, which is characterized via a few parameters:

  • Sperm count. A key aspect of semen quality is the concentration of sperm cells in a given amount of semen. Normal semen has 40 million to 300 million sperm per milliliter. A low sperm count, known as oligospermia, is  anything between 10 and 20 million sperm per milliliter. Low sperm count can stem from a number of issues, including previous medical problems, age, or environmental factors. Lifestyle also plays a role. Men who smoke or use recreational drugs should be clear that both habits affect their fertility.
  • Sperm morphology. Normal sperm have egg-shaped heads and long tails, which are used to help the sperm “swim” to the egg. The more normal-shaped sperm a man has, the easier it is for them to reach his partner’s egg.
  • Sperm motility. Efficient movement is an essential feature of healthy sperm. Sperm motility is measured as the percentage of moving sperm cells in a sample of semen, and healthy sperm motility is defined as sperm with forward progressions of at least 25 micrometers per second. There are various kinds of sperm motility issues, including slow or sluggish progressive motility, non-progressive motility, defined as anything less than 5 micrometers per second, and no mobility.
  • Testosterone levels and hormonal balance: The balance of hormones in a man’s body determines the success of his reproductive system. If the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone or gonadotropins, which includes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), male infertility is often the result.

Healthy Sperm Begin with the Right Nutrients

The most common cause of inferior sperm – i.e. issues with all or any of the above – is a nutrient shortage. And it’s more common than many people realize. A 2012 study found that just one man in four had optimal sperm health.

In the life of sperm, every day matters. And ensuring healthy development means a steady stream of specific nutrients, such as vitamins D, E, C, folate, and CoQ10. In an ideal world, a healthy diet would deliver all the nutrients a man needs. But in the real world, nutritional gaps in our diets are pretty standard, and a prenatal vitamin can be the smartest workaround. Enter Hanson Davis’ specialized prenatal, formulated to support male fertility with nutrients shown to promote better sperm across all parameters.

These days, Beli isn’t alone in the male prenatal market. But just as women’s prenatals aren’t created equal, neither are those marketed toward men. As you shop, prioritize formulas made without GMO ingredients in FDA-registered, cGMP facilities to ensure safety and consistency. And look for specific ingredients:

The Bottom Line

“For both partners, taking a daily prenatal vitamin is kind of the low-hanging fruit,” says Hanson Davis. “It’s pretty easy to set an alarm and knock back a few vitamins every day, and the payoff can be huge.” 

The bottom line is pretty simple. Healthy pregnancies start with healthy sperm, and healthy sperm begins with proper nutrition. Just like women, men benefit from the specialized nutrition of a good prenatal vitamin. If the plan is a baby, taking steps to clean up your lifestyle and including a daily prenatal vitamin is an important part of the process.

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