Do you think that only a woman is responsible for her baby’s health? Is there no role of the father in determining the nutritional wellbeing of the newborn? Today the growing science can answer this question. Fortunately, the father has an equal role in determining pregnancy outcomes including the baby’s health.
Typical assumptions say that only women are responsible for the baby’s health as the baby connects to the mother only. Multiple factors such as exposure to toxins, environmental stress, physical activity, and a healthy diet are also the determinants of newborn health.
People believe that the father is only responsible for the preconception period (whether the sperm is strong enough to fertilize an egg or not). But today, the concept has totally changed. Endocrine disruptors and lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol drinking has been linked to the nutritional health of sperm and male infertility.
Moreover, the low number of sperm and damaged sperms have a huge impact on pregnancy results. It determines the nutritional status of the maternal placenta. It is the major key factor in the developmental process. Low or damaged sperm count increases the chances of miscarriage.
Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance
The advances in epigenetics reveal that there are some “biological memories “ that show an association with the sperms. These memories are an abnormal factor that passes straightly to the offspring. Some rodent studies showed that toxic environmental triggers have changed the genes and their expression. These modified genes passed to the next three generations. The process is what we know as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
In 2001 a Swedish scientist, an epidemiologist Lars Bygren, studied the historical data of his hometown and made a connection between the famine, feast and long-term health benefits of men. He showed the person who overate before puberty died sooner as compared to the one who suffered famine at the same age.
Also, a father who was smoker before puberty produced an overweight child in comparison to the nonsmoker. The rate of diabetes was 13% more in the offspring whose father experienced a long-term famine. In all the studies, the timing was a key element.
DNA methylation is responsible for the changes in sperm
DNA methylation is responsible for bringing the changes in the sperm. By following the obesity, high-fat diet and malnutrition, DNA methylation modified the genes of sperm. Other associated factor includes old aging, that produces more percentage of premature births and low birth weight babies. In 2018, 40 million children were born, out of which, 14 percent had the father of more than 45 age.
Also read- What is a healthy diet for pregnant women?
Women are prohibited from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Also, there is a ban on fathers too for drinking excessive alcohol and smoking. Because it induces the epigenetic changes in sperms that leads to infertility.
The study conducted on mice showed that It may be responsible for the low birth weight, insulin hypersensitivity, immune system problems, and impaired cognitive development
This new era of science explains the developmental side of health and disease. According to the study in 2017 environmental toxins that affect fetal development, would lead to some chronic disease later in life. So, there should be awareness for the young men about how to adapt their lifestyle habits that would have some positive effects on biological traits. It will save our next generations from nutritional deficiencies and other diseases.