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Your Health and Getting Pregnant

In my last blog article I wrote about fertility. I try to address the various aspects of health when helping a couple become pregnant. There are several additional lifestyle factors, beyond diet, that are important for fertility.

Environment Toxicity

A major concern for all of us is environmental toxicity. Environmental toxins are ubiquitous. They are in our air, water, food, soil, cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, plastics, receipts, pots and pans, etc. Over 80,000 different chemicals are in use with minimal oversight and no human safety testing.

Several years ago, I wrote an article about my experience measuring my toxin exposure over the course of a week. What it taught me was that it pays off to be diligent in managing your chemical exposures. And that there are some toxins in our environment that are just unavoidable. This is unfortunate for so many reasons, including when it comes to fertility.

Many of these chemicals are known to interfere with hormone-dependent functions in the body. This means they can affect every system in the body—including the reproductive system. These chemicals can interfere at any point along the hormonal axis between the brain and the gonads. They can block or alter the hormone receptors, interfere with the development of egg and sperm, stop the fertilization of the egg and change the genetic development of the embryo. Toxins can also affect implantation and pregnancy.

Toxins Are Everywhere

Research has shown that environmental toxins are indeed affecting fertility rates and we need to be aware so that we can properly avoid these chemicals. Heavy metals, in particular lead, are an issue. Lead is found in plastics, mirrors, gasoline, ceramics, paint, and in the soil. Agricultural chemicals such as DBCP and Vinclozalin have been shown to affect sperm and fertility rates. Phlalates, chemicals used in many consumer products, are known to disrupt the hormone system. Phlalates are found in cosmetics, food packaging and food processing, medicines, and building materials. BPA is another chemical hormone disruptor that is found just about everywhere—polycarbonate plastics, adhesives, lubricants, carbonless copy paper (like store receipts), epoxy resins, and food containers.

How Do I Avoid Them?

Avoidance is key. Eat organic foods, don’t spray chemicals in your yard, avoid plastics, and re-evaluate your cosmetic and cleaning products. I rely on www.ewg.org to figure out what is safe for me to be using in my house and on my body.

It may seem daunting to change so many things in your life. From your shampoo to your dishwashing detergent to your handling of store receipts to your cookware, but these things really do make a difference. In addition to helping you conceive, doing so may help you prevent Alzheimer’s or cancer. Do your research and make changes. These things could literally save your life. We are unable to avoid all of the chemicals in our environment. But we can do better!