It goes without saying that when planning to make a baby, hubby\u2019s \u201cswimmers\u201d (or sperm) are very important. This is because they make up the other half of the equation in the science of conception. When conception doesn\u2019t take place despite trying, it isn\u2019t only due to the woman. One-third of the time \u2500 according to this research published in Medline Plus, the failure to conceive or to carry a baby to term may be caused by the poor health of hubby\u2019s sperm. Beyond conception, sperm also plays a role in the health of the pregnancy and the health of the baby to come. After all, a baby is made up of both your and hubby\u2019s DNA. While poor-quality sperm with damaged DNA may be able to fertilise an egg, the fertilised egg may not be able to further its development after a certain stage and this may lead to a miscarriage not long after. Hubby\u2019s Sperm Plays Important Role in Determining Health of Pregnancy & Baby In the case of women who have had multiple miscarriages, this study published in Science Direct says that one of the causes of multiple miscarriages may be due to poor sperm quality. As Dr. Channa Jayasen, lead author of the research says, doctors only used to focus on the women when looking for the cause of recurrent miscarriages and never analysed the men\u2019s sperm. With recent research, that line of thought has changed when it was found that poor sperm quality is linked to repeated miscarriages. An obvious reason is because sperm carries half of the developing fetus\u2019 chromosomes. It has been found that the leading cause of miscarriages is abnormal chromosomes. An egg or sperm (not just the egg) may be carrying the wrong number of chromosomes and there's such a thing as sperm DNA fragmentation caused by programmed apoptosis of sperm cells (cell suicide), due to environmental exposure to toxins, illness, or defects in the packaging of the sperm. Sperm also plays the dominant role in the formation of the placenta (yes, it's hubby\u2019s genes that build the placenta, as this research proves and it's the placenta that is crucial for oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus. Isn\u2019t that a revelation? Furthermore, the age of the father is also said to affect the outcome of the pregnancy and the long-term health of the baby, says this research. The older he is, the more likely he may produce less-than-quality sperm. But it stands to reason. Making a baby is always two-way. Of course, your age and health are strong predictors of the outcome of the pregnancy and long-term health of the child, but hubby\u2019s health, too are equally strong determining factors. It goes without saying then that while you prepare yourself to grow a baby, hubby, too must take care of his health. In short, a healthy man produces healthy sperm. What Defines Healthy Sperm? But what defines healthy sperm? According to Healthline, healthy sperm is determined by 3 factors: Quantity (volume): Healthy sperm count is about 15 million or more for every milliliter (mL) of semen. Too little sperm in an ejaculate will mean too few \u201ccandidates\u201d to fertilise the egg. Movement (motility): To be able to reach and fertilise an egg, sperm must swim. Not all sperm in an ejaculate are strong swimmers; some don\u2019t move at all but to be fertile, at least 40% of the sperm need to be moving effectively in order to go up the woman\u2019s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to reach their goal. Shape (morphology): Healthy sperm have oval heads and long, strong tails to propel them forward. Abnormal sperm have misshapen heads, crooked tails, or even a double tail. All this will affect the sperm\u2019s ability to reach and penetrate the egg. How to Boost Hubby\u2019s Sperm Health So now that you know how important hubby\u2019s sperm health is, here\u2019s how you can help him produce healthy sperm. Beyond the usual advice to: \tLose weight (if overweight or obese) \tStop smoking \tAvoid excessive alcohol \tSleep and rest well \tExercise and de-stress Here are more tips: 1. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods A study published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility discovered that men who ate antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables have better rates of sperm movements, ejaculate volume, and sperm concentration than those who ate diets heavy in meat and full-fat dairy foods. They also had less DNA damaged sperm comparatively. Hubby should also take folic acid. While the need for women of child-bearing age to take folic acid is already well known, it seems that men, too should take foods high in folic acid. Folic acid is a B-Vitamin. It is also known as Vitamin B9. Folate is the naturally occurring form of Vitamin B9 and is found in foods, especially leafy, green vegetables. In fact, folate comes from the Latin word 'folium' which means leaf. Folate is an essential nutrient for cell growth, division, and DNA synthesis, and studies have found that folate levels are associated with sperm count and health. Zinc is an important mineral, too. In fact, it's essential for sperm formations, supports testosterone production, improves brain health, heart health, stamina, energy, and overall immunity to common infections. Antioxidant, Zinc, and Folic-rich foods can be found in the following foods \tFolic Acid: Broccoli, beef liver, leafy, green vegetables (like spinach), peas, chickpeas, breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid \tAntioxidants: Goji berries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries, kale, red cabbage, beans, spinach, Vitamin-C rich fruits like all citrus fruits, papaya,\u00a0 selenium-rich foods like cod, beef, turkey, and chicken, shellfish, eggs, and especially Brazil nuts \tZinc: Meat, seafood (oysters, crab), legumes, seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), nuts, dairy, and eggs 2. Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold but Just Right Low sperm count is one of the main reasons for male infertility and in the age-old debate of whether hubby should wear boxers or briefs, it seems that tight briefs worn in our hot Malaysian weather, may be one reason why sperm production can be affected. The issue behind the argument lies in the temperature of the testes. Nature has made it so, that testes are located outside of the body. This is so that they can remain cooler than the rest of the body. Testes can overheat when a man wears tight brief underwear. If the testes are too hot, they'll be unable to make sufficient sperm. Furthermore, high temperatures kill sperm. That's why, says this study from Human Reproduction, that sperm concentration can decrease as much as 32% after a man suffers from a fever. The same applies to sitting in hot tubs, taking long, hot showers, sweating it out in the sauna or steam bath (a favourite activity in Malaysia).\u00a0 High heat is a no-no for sure when it comes to baby making. Here\u2019s an interesting factoid: Did you know? That men have the healthiest sperm in cooler weather? In a study, men with normal sperm production showed winter and early spring-produced sperm had the fastest motility, which made conception easier. Then again, temperatures that are too cold also kill sperm. Plus, Malaysia doesn\u2019t experience seasons. The optimal temperature for healthy sperm production, therefore, is 2.5\u00b0 to 3\u00b0 Celsius\u00a0lower than body temperature (37\u00b0 Celsius), and spermatogenesis (sperm production) is most efficient at 34\u00b0\u00a0Celsius. 3. Avoid Inflicting Damage Such as Placing Laptop on Lap Although a laptop is called a laptop, hubby should avoid putting it on his lap when working on it. Still on the subject of heat, the heat from a laptop can warm his scrotum. Not only that, the electromagnetic fields generated by the laptop\u2019s internal electronic circuits, as well as the Wi-Fi radio frequency hazards may damage sperm, says this new study. Furthermore, reported CBS news, after 4 hours of exposure, it was found that one-quarter of the sperm were no longer swimming. The same can be said about the use of mobile phones, whether placed on lap or not. Mobile phone radiation can negatively affect sperm quality in men by decreasing semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm count, motility, and viability \u2013 thus, impairing male fertility. Apart from over usage of technology, other types of damage to testicular tissue and fertility can be caused by trauma through sports or accidents and exposure to toxic chemicals. For the former, scar tissue could halt or reduce sperm production and exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace could cause DNA fragmentation and reduce sperm motility. 4. Have Sex but Not Too Much and Not Too Little Did you know that excessive ejaculation and prolonged abstinence can affect the number and quality of sperm? Long-term abstinence leads to build up of sperm and makes them susceptible to oxidative attacks. The result is decreased motility, DNA damage, and fertilisation rates. Overall quality of sperm declines after 10 days in normal men. On the other hand, constantly emptying his reserve means that he won't have a lower sperm count in each ejaculate. This is because unlike you, where all the eggs (ova) you will ever have in your lifetime are born with you, hubby produces new sperm every day. But a full sperm regeneration cycle (spermatogenesis) takes approximately 64 days. If you and hubby are trying to get pregnant, Healthline says fertilisation is most likely if he withholds ejaculation for a while. This is to allow fresh sperm to build up so that he'll have more in a single ejaculation. You can further increase your chances of conception by telling hubby to abstain from ejaculation the week before you ovulate. This will maximise hubby\u2019s sperm count during your fertile window. To find out when your most fertile window is, use Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test. It's over 99% accurate and it pinpoints your 2 most fertile days. To find out more about Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test and how it works, click here! Use Clearblue PLUS Pregnancy Test to Find Out if You Have Conceived Now that you and hubby know why it\u2019s important to keep his "swimmers" healthy and swimming, and he and you have taken all the necessary steps to be in prime health to make and carry a baby, go for it! Clearblue is the world\u2019s no. 1 selling brand in home pregnancy and fertility tests. All results are over 99% accurate as it's as accurate as a doctor\u2019s test so you can use it with full confidence that you'd get reliable answers. And one of the easiest pregnancy tests in the Clearblue range of pregnancy tests, is Clearblue PLUS. Its revolutionary design after extensive research even won a Red Dot Design award in 2012. Some of its outstanding points are: \tOver 99% Accurate: From the day of your expected period. \tErgonomic Shape: The longer curved handle makes the test pen easier to hold and more hygienic to use. \t50% Wider Tip: The wider Colour Change Tip makes sampling easier and changes colour from white to pink to let you know you've sampled correctly. \tCan Test 5 Days Early: It\u2019s so sensitive you can test up to 5 days before your missed period**. \tClear Plus (+) or Minus (-) Results: Easy to read plus (+) or minus (-) results, with results as fast as 1 minute*. * A 'Pregnant' result may appear in 1 minute when testing from the day of the missed period. Wait for 3 minutes to confirm a 'Not Pregnant' result.\u00a0**It Can be used 5 days before your missed period (which is 4 days before your expected period).\u00a0 How to use Clearblue PLUS Pregnancy Test A.\u00a0When ready to test, remove the pregnancy test stick from the foil wrapper, take off the blue cap, and use the test straightaway. B. Hold the absorbent colour change tip pointing downwards in your urine stream for just 5 seconds. The colour change tip will instantly turn pink \u2013 showing that urine is being absorbed. Continue holding the colour change tip in the urine for a full 5 seconds. C. Wait for 3 minutes. As the pregnancy test begins to work, you'll see blue lines start to develop. D. A \u2018Pregnant\u2019 result may appear in 1 minute when testing from the day you missed your period (which is the day after your expected period). You should wait a full 3 minutes to confirm a \u2018Not Pregnant\u2019 result or when testing before you have missed your period. Enjoy Making A Baby & Getting Great Discounts! Great news for parents-to-be! While you and partner are having fun making a baby, you can also enjoy 20% OFF storewide for ALL Clearblue products. And not just that, you will also get to redeem a FREE limited-edition Clearblue Tumbler when you purchase 1 (one) Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test and any Clearblue products and above on Motherhood.com.my! For more information on Clearblue products, please visit the Clearblue website today! And to learn more about ovulation, conception, and pregnancy, visit\u00a0Motherhood.com.my.