The Father Factor

Mom isn't the only one who matters -- Dad's habits count too.

How He Fits into Baby's Development

As a mother-to-be, you want your partner to help meet your baby's physical, developmental, and emotional needs. His biological contribution is probably the last thing on your mind -- that ended at conception, right? Not necessarily. Growing scientific evidence suggests that Dad's lifestyle has a great impact on the health of his unborn baby. It's long been known that infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight, and stillbirth might occur if the mother smoked, drank alcohol, used drugs, took certain medications, or was exposed to toxic chemicals. But we now know that fetal development -- and male infertility -- can be affected by the father's habits and lifestyle too. There's also evidence that a father's behavior can affect how the mother handles pregnancy and manages her stress levels, both of which can affect the health of an unborn baby. Here are some of the risks fathers can contribute and how to deal with them.

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