Mother and Baby

Trying To Conceive? Men Need Folic Acid Too

It's not just women who need to eat well and top up on folic acid before getting pregnant

A man's diet before conception can play a crucial role in sperm quality and the health of his future kids, too, a Canadian study has shown.

Women are advised to take folic acid, a type of vitamin B, when they’re trying to conceive and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because it’s key in preventing brain and spine defects in developing babies.

But it now sounds like men also have to think about their folic acid levels. Males low in the vital vitamin were more likely to have children with neural tube defects, according to brand new research from McGill University, Canada.

The study on mice found babies born to males low in folic acid were almost 30 per cent more likely to have birth defects, including deformities of the spine and skull. Scientists found male sperm carried a memory of the dad's lifestyle, which was passed down to offspring during conception.

But, it’s important to remember eating a healthy diet will give enough of the vitamin. ‘You don’t need to rush out and buy folic acid supplements,’ says Dr Haney Lashen, consultant in reproductive medicine at Sheffield University. ‘If you’re pregnant and your partner didn’t take any, don’t worry as a normal healthy diet should provide you with sufficient levels.’

As a general rule if you’re trying to conceive, keep the junk food off your plate as well as your man’s and fill up on green, leafy vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, which are all rich in the vit. Find out more info on the foods you and your man should eat if you’re trying to get pregnant.

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