Environment Can Cause Problems with Conception

Infertility is at an all-time high in our society, with one in six couples having difficulty conceiving.

Thirty percent of fertility issues are classified as “unexplained” and a large percentage are considered hormonal issues. Many of these problems can be rectified with lifestyle and diet changes.

Last week, I talked about changes to our diet. This week we will focus on how our environment can cause difficulty with conception. This is called preconception care and many couples have had healthy babies through these types of efforts.

Couples need to be concerned about many environmental factors. Plastics contain BPA, a chemical which is a known endocrine disruptor. Our endocrine system is responsible for production and regulation of our hormones, and our hormones play an integral role in conception. Remove as many plastics from your life as possible, including food storage containers, plastic wrap and water bottles, to name a few.

Phthalates found in plastics, body care products and cosmetics also disrupt our hormonal system. In high levels, phthalates have been linked to miscarriage.

Women are at particular risk due to all of the body care products that we use — perfume, makeup, wet hair products, dry hair products, day cream, night cream, eye cream, hand cream, body lotion and all the other potions. Minimize all body care products and cosmetics and replace the ones you need with natural alternatives.

Heavy metals also are a concern, especially for men. Studies show that sperm are susceptible to damage from heavy metals. Removing sources of heavy metals is important for both men and women.

Start by filtering your water — not only your drinking water but also your bath water. A whole house filter is the best option but there are other options available.

It is also important to watch your intake of fish and seafood. Learn which fish has less chance of contamination. Generally, larger fish and farm-raised fish should be avoided.

Canned products can be a source of aluminum and BPAs. Avoid them whenever possible and buy frozen vegetables instead.

If you have amalgam fillings you may need to have them properly removed, as they are a dangerous source of mercury. Some people may need to detox some of the heavy metals from their system.

Pesticides should be avoided. In addition to many dangerous chemicals in pesticides, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) chemicals are known to affect hormone function. This is why moms-to-be and dads-to be should be eating organic.

Chemicals found in cleaning products are a major concern. Not only do the products contain dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde, but many of them become airborne. We spray them and inhale them or they are present in steam from showers or dishwashers. All cleaners, including things like air fresheners and dryer sheets, should not be used. Make your own natural cleaners or purchase natural-based cleaners.

If you are struggling to have a child, consider making some changes to your environment. Removing toxins from your diet and environment can only benefit your health and in the process may be the help your body needs to conceive a healthy child.

Next week will focus on how vitamin and mineral deficiencies can affect fertility.

 

Originally published in The News Herald column Food for Thought by Theresa Edmunds.

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