In our modern world, there are countless ways to come into contact with toxins and chemicals, substances that are damaging to our health. As you work toward preparing your body for conception, or as you actively try to conceive, it is important to cleanse the body of harmful substances. This will help increase your fertility as well as prepare a healthy environment for your baby to grow in.
Typically, when individuals think of removing harmful substances, they limit their search to items found in the pantry. Moving toward healthier eating is a very important step, but is only half the equation.
You absorb as many toxins through your skin as you do from the foods you eat. These are so many items that you come in contact with throughout the day. From washing your hands to getting dressed in the morning, you are constantly exposing your body to potentially harmful substances.
If you have struggled with infertility or have not been able to conceive despite actively trying (to conceive) for at least 6 month, it is important to look at your lifestyle and see if toxicity (toxin exposure) could be a piece of your fertility puzzle.
Here are several important places in your home to evaluate.
In the Bathroom
In the bathroom, look for items that take a chemical formula to create. These are items such as toothpaste, perfume, makeup removers, sunscreen, shampoos, and soaps.
As with all the products you use on your skin, evaluate the ingredients. If you need a degree in chemistry to understand what they are, they do not belong on your skin.
Some of the toxic ingredients you will read on the label of these kinds of items are sulfates, triclosans, fragrances, and parabens. Each of those ingredients negatively impacts the body. For example, parabens have been known to spur reproductive difficulties.
When reviewing products in your bathroom, don’t neglect reviewing your different cosmetics. Makeup contains some of the most toxic substances in your bathroom.
There are several brands that create natural non-toxic alternatives for the products you use every day. The key is to be aware of the harmful effects of traditional products and actively look for other options.
Additionally, you can explore complete alternatives. One example would be using coconut oil instead of lotion. This is extremely healthy for the skin and effective at moisturizing.
For your cosmetics, there are natural makeup lines coming out that are more affordable (and much cleaner) than MAC Cosmetics. For example, Gwyneth Paltrow currently has a line so safe you could eat it. Odds are that it’s not something you would consider eating, but it’s a good reminder that if it’s not safe enough to eat, it doesn’t belong on your skin.
In the Kitchen
The biggest offender in the kitchen is your nonstick pots and pans. In order to create the smooth and easy-to-use surface on the pans, manufacturers coat their products with a chemical rich layer. The main component of this chemical layer is Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This particular chemical has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, women who struggle with infertility have been shown to have higher concentrations of PFOA.
Have you ever had a pan that started out nonstick but over time lost that characteristic? The chemical layer slowly transferred to your food. In short, you ate the nonstick components. Yes, that is the PFOA.
The other item to watch out for is your plastic Tupperware.
There are seven types of plastic. Each type is classified by a number, which corresponds to the different chemical makeup. The ones to watch out for are number 1 and number 7. These particular chemical makeups are shown to decrease sperm count and reduce the number of eggs.
Replace nonstick pots and pans with cast iron, aluminum, or ceramic options. Cast iron pans can actually be beneficial for women because it adds iron to your system. Women tend to need more iron, particularly when pregnant.
Look for Tupperware options that use plastics 2-6 or opt for glass food storage options.
Under the Sink
You likely store your different cleaning supplies under the sink. Products like bleach, drain cleaners, oven cleaners, polishes, and other cleaners are full of toxic components.
Think of them as poison. That’s why your parents put the little green poison control sticker on them while you were growing up.
While you won’t necessarily be applying them to your skin, especially if you use rubber gloves cleaning, you will breathe in the fumes as you use them.
The other cleaning product to consider is laundry detergent. The chemicals in detergent are transferred to your clothes during the wash cycle. You then transfer the chemicals directly to your skin as you wear them throughout the day.
There are several great natural options to the typical chemical-rich cleaning options. In lieu of bleach, choose essential oils. Bicarbonates and apple cider vinegar are strong enough to clean things like calcium deposits in the bathroom or even your oven.
If you are looking for a more traditional cleaner, look into companies like Seventh Generation who focus on environmentally friendly and non-toxic products.
There are two ways we absorb water. The first is through enjoying your ice-cold glass of water in the afternoon. The other is during your hot shower or bubble bath. Many people use water filters on their drinking tap. This still leaves you vulnerable while showering.
Especially in a hot shower, your open pores can absorb more water than you drink in a day. If you live in an area with poor water quality, then you are absorbing all the pollutants directly through your skin.
Call your water department to determine the quality of your city’s water. Most likely you will be surprised to learn how it is far from desirable.
Depending on your budget, you can either explore individual water filters for your tap water and showerheads or a house water filter. While a house filter will be a more expensive option upfront, often it saves you money in the long run. Individual water filters need to be replaced every six months. A house filter will not need to be touched for fifteen years.
If you are like most couples planning to add a new member to the family, you will be gearing up for a remodel or creating the baby’s room. There are several different aspects to a remodel that are extremely hazardous to someone trying to conceive, as well as an expectant mother.
Paints and varnishes release toxic fumes. New furniture, curtains, and even carpets have flame-retardants they release into the air. These chemicals can cause miscarriages and reduce sperm count.
For furniture, look for used options. These flame-retardants stop outgassing over time, so older items will be safer to bring into the home. If you still want to paint the home or add new carpet, then use low VOC paints, use the time the house is being painted as an opportunity for a short getaway. Allow for the home to air out before returning.
This is a very long list, which can be overwhelming if you try to implement it all at once. It would also be very costly. Instead, start by identifying items in your home you want to replace. When you eventually run out, start replacing items with healthier alternatives.
By changing your purchasing habits, you will start to recognize and look for the safer and healthier options.
Working With an Expert
Changing lifestyle habits can be a lot to take on alone. That’s why I am here to help. I partner with you to look at all areas of your life and identify solutions to creating a healthier environment. This applies both to increasing natural fertility as well as creating the safest environment for your baby to grow.
Often times I help couples find natural solutions to IVF. Other positive byproducts of removing these hidden toxins in your life are enjoying better sleep, improved digestion, lusher hair and nails, and overall better vitality.
Just as you wouldn’t want to bring a guest into a dirty home, you don’t want to create your child in an unhealthy or even toxic environment. Together, we can ensure that your body is a healthy and beautiful place to allow your baby to grow in.