Send to

Choose Destination
Matern Child Health J. 2017 Nov;21(11):2025-2039. doi: 10.1007/s10995-017-2370-4.

Father's Role in Preconception Health.

Author information

MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School, 125 Nashua Street, Suite 8402, Boston, MA, 02114, USA.
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, United States Department of Health and Human Services, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20857, USA.


As part of the federal multi-agency conference on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes, the existing Fatherhood paradigm was expanded to include a new focus on Men's Preconception Health. This concept grew out of the women's preconception health movement and the maternal and child health (MCH) life course perspective, as well as pioneering research from the child development, public health data and family planning fields. It encourages a new examination of how men's preconception health impacts both reproductive outcomes and men's own subsequent health and development. This essay introduces the concept of men's preconception health and health care; examines its historical development; notes the challenges of its inclusion into fatherhood and reproductive health programs; and situates it within a longer men's reproductive health life course. We then briefly explore six ways men's preconception health and health care can have positive direct and indirect impacts-planned and wanted pregnancies (family planning); enhanced paternal biologic and genetic contributions; improved reproductive health biology for women; improved reproductive health practices and outcomes for women; improved capacity for parenthood and fatherhood (psychological development); and enhanced male health through access to primary health care. Research on men's preconception health and health care is very limited and siloed. We propose a research agenda to advance this topic in three broad domains: increasing the basic epidemiology and risk factor knowledge base; implementing and evaluating men's preconception health/fatherhood interventions (addressing clinical health care, psychological resiliency/maturation, and social determinants of health); and fostering more fatherhood health policy and advocacy research.


Fatherhood; Fathers; Life course; Men’s health; Preconception health; Reproductive health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center