Paternal programming: how it works

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope
Dad’s diet matters too! We hear a lot about how important mum’s health is for baby’s development… but did you know the dad’s nutrition can also have a big influence?
Researchers have called this ‘paternal programming’ – here’s how it works
  •  It’s thought a father’s diet can influence the way genes are expressed in his little swimmers
  •  In turn, this can impact bub’s growth and development, as well as their cardiovascular health in later life
  • A ‘Western-style’ diet (typically high in added sugar and processed foods) is linked with lower sperm motility too – meaning they move less efficiently and can affect fertility
(Fleming, et al, 2018; Eberle, et al, 2020)
But it doesn’t need to be scary!
Changes to human sperm happened after just 2 weeks of following a different diet (in a small study of 15 healthy men) – so I reckon it’s pretty empowering that we can influence the future generation by what we eat, do you agree?
It just means the time around conception is a great opp for future mum AND dad to think about eating plenty of plants. It was the first time I took Thomas’ diet into my own hands… catering breakfast, lunch and dinner (he’s now gone back to fending for himself and hating it).
Skin-on-skin contact is just as important with dads too – shown to help bub’s temperature, behaviour and reduce dad’s stress and anxiety. Something that any new dad will tell you is real!
Happy father’s day to all dads and dads-to-be! (UK only, so don’t panic if you’re somewhere else )
For those who are struggling today, I’m thinking of you too 


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