Advertisement

Dad’s Health Plays a Key Role in Baby’s Health

Dad’s Health Plays a Key Role in Baby’s Health

In the movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Rick Moranis played the part of a Dad who did his kids more harm than good. But in real life, when his wife died of breast cancer in 1997, he turned his back on the Silver Screen for 18 years to be an at-home father. Moranis clearly knew how important a Dad is to his kids’ well-being.

But, according to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, while it seems sensible that both parents contribute to the health of their offspring, science is just beginning to demonstrate a clear association between a Dad’s lifestyle, age and health and fetal development. Their report in the American Journal of Stem Cells found there are several ways a father’s health and behavior influences his offspring:

  • If Dad is obese, his children have an increased risk of enlarged fat cells, changes in metabolic regulation, diabetes, obesity and brain cancer.
  • Dad’s alcohol use can cause decreased newborn birth weight, marked reduction in brain size and impaired cognitive function. Smoking can damage sperm’s DNA.
  • Dad’s revved up stress response increases the chance a child will have behavior problems.
  • Older Dads have a greater risk of having children who are schizophrenic, autistic or have birth defects.

So fellas, if you and your partner are thinking about becoming pregnant, you both need to attain a healthy weight, eat nutritious foods, take a prenatal vitamin (for three months prior to conception for Dad), skip alcohol and get plenty of physical activity to ease stress.

Medically reviewed in December 2018.

Avoiding 21st Century Hazards While You’re Pregnant
Avoiding 21st Century Hazards While You’re Pregnant
"Can you hear me now?” “Can you hear me now? ”  When actor Paul Marcarelli uttered that phrase -- over, and over, and over again -- in a mobile phone ...
Read More
What can I do if I have constipation during pregnancy?
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhDDr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Many pregnant women complain of constipation. Signs of constipation include having hard, dry stools;...
More Answers
Should You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in Mind
Should You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in Mind
Though only six percent of women hire them to help with pregnancy, doulas offer real benefits.
Start Slideshow
What Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
What Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?