Trying to conceive is stressful enough without having to worry about what’s lurking in your food or facial cleanser. Unfortunately, those hidden chemicals could sabotage all your best efforts to grow your family.
The good news is you can make big strides in your fertility simply by avoiding certain damaging chemicals to reduce your toxic load. Read on to find out which chemicals to avoid and where to find them. Then, brush up on a few easy ways to steer clear of chemicals and boost your fertility naturally.
What Are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals?
Chemicals are everywhere in our modern lives. You can find them in our air, food, living spaces, offices, personal care products, and more. In most cases, though, low-level exposure to these chemicals causes little to no harm.
But, some chemicals can cause trouble, especially if you are trying to conceive. A specific class of chemicals known as “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” has been shown to affect the body’s sex hormones and impact fertility.
While most of us (over 95%) will show signs of EDCs in our bodies, researchers believe that couples struggling with infertility may have higher levels than average.
Studies show that exposure to EDC can throw hormones out of balance and negatively affect sperm, eggs, and overall embryo quality. Unfortunately, this makes getting pregnant a challenge. Other studies show that exposure to EDCs while pregnant may lead to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
So, what can you do to protect your health and have a healthy pregnancy and baby?
The first step is to reduce the EDCs you are exposed to daily. Here are 5 of the most common chemicals linked to infertility and how to avoid them.
5 Everyday Chemicals to Avoid When Trying to Conceive
1. BPA (Bisphenol A)
BPA is a commonly-used chemical in many soft and flexible plastics, receipt paper, garden hoses, food and beverage cans, plastic toys, and other polycarbonate plastics. Current research shows that BPA is linked to female infertility and hormone imbalances. BPA may also cause irregularities in ovulation.
2. BPS (Bisphenol S)
Like BPA, exposure to BPS can reduce your chances of pregnancy. This chemical throws off the balance of hormones like estradiol and damages ovarian tissues. BPS is most commonly found in thermal receipt paper. Be sure to check for BPS in your “BPA-free” products. While they don’t contain BPA, they might still contain BPS, which can be just as harmful to your health.
Phthalates are a well-known hormone-disrupting chemical. Studies show that phthalates can prevent the proper production, elimination, and binding of hormones. In simpler terms, phthalates prevent your hormones from making pregnancy possible.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid phthalates. They turn up in most modern goods like plastics, synthetic fabrics, drugs, personal care products, fragrances, food and beverage packages, and more. You also inhale phthalates from plastic items like shower curtains and linoleum. Opt for natural products whenever possible to avoid excess exposure to phthalates.
Parabens are a group of chemicals used to reduce bacterial growth in cosmetics and skin care products so they last longer. Like the other EDCs we’ve covered, they disrupt our hormones and lead to infertility struggles and poor reproductive health. In women, parabens interfere with a regular menstrual cycle and may cause cancer. In men, they lower testosterone and reduce sperm count.
5. PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls)
PCBs are manufactured chemicals often used in manufacturing. You’ll find them in paints, plastics, and rubbers, as well as electrical and mechanical products you might find in your home or car. As an EDC, PCBs can reduce male and female fertility and cause low birth weight in babies. Studies show that higher exposure to PCBs was also linked to failed IVF cycles.
How to Reduce Your Toxic Load to Improve Your Fertility
It’s impossible to avoid all chemicals. But reducing your exposure to these chemicals and living a low-toxin life can be simple. Here are a few ways to steer clear of EDCs and improve your fertility and overall health:
Eat clean and wash your produce.
Due to our modern farming and food production practices, our food is a significant source of chemicals, hormones, and additives that can affect our health. EDCs show up in pesticides, prepackaged foods, tin cans, and plastic food packaging. It’s also important to always wash your produce to help reduce the number of pesticides and chemicals sprayed on them.
Err on the side of safety by choosing whole foods that you are cooking yourself. Not only does cooking for yourself reduce your exposure to harmful EDCs, but cooking is also a great way to relax and nurture your body.
Cook and reheat your food safely.
Storing and reheating your food in plastic can increase your exposure to EDCs. These plastics absorb into the food during the storing or heating process. Instead, keep your food in glass containers and never reheat a meal in a plastic container or plastic plate.
Ditch the plastics and receipts.
Plastics and receipts contain BPA, which is a known endocrine disruptor. Throw out receipts or go paperless when possible. As for plastics, they can be tricky to avoid completely. Do your best to swap plastic kitchen and bathroom products with glass, bamboo, or stone alternatives. Avoid drinking from soft plastic water bottles by using an eco-friendly water bottle.
Get fresh air.
Air fresheners and conventional candles may smell nice, but they often contain harmful chemicals. Breathing in particles from other air pollutants like smoke, bug spray, perfume, plastic fumes, and harsh cleaners could potentially harm your body and baby.
Instead, opt for natural fragrances from safe essential oil blends to scent your home and choose natural cleaning products whenever possible. Invest in an air purifying system and open your windows to invite fresh air in (if you live in an area with good air quality).
Go natural with skin and body care.
Most conventional personal care products contain parabens, a type of EDC that can quickly increase the toxins since we use these products daily. Swap your shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics, body wash, facial cleansers, serums, and moisturizers with better-for-you alternatives. Look for “paraben-free” products and those that use herbal ingredients instead of chemicals.
Acupuncture helps your body heal itself and work more efficiently. That includes detoxifying your blood and tissues from chemicals like EDCs. The better your body can detox, the lower your levels of EDCs will be, which could improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Acupuncture also improves overall fertility for both women and men. Fertility acupuncture improves blood flow to the reproductive organs, balances hormones, and helps the body make healthier sperm and eggs.
Improve Your Chances of Pregnancy with a Denver Fertility Acupuncture at Wellnest Denver
At Wellnest Denver, we know that you want to do everything you can to grow your family naturally. Acupuncture and a low-tox lifestyle can help!
If you’re hoping to get pregnant soon, now is the time to start a fertility acupuncture treatment plan to give your body the best chances of success. We’ll take a holistic approach to your fertility and pregnancy journey, giving you the mental, physical, and emotional support you need to welcome your future baby.