Getting pregnant can be a pretty stressful journey, and you may worry about what your body is coming into contact with. The overall effect of environmental factors is generally small, but if you can implement small changes, it may affect your health and fertility.
Environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, known as EDCs, can affect sperm, egg and embryo quality and, therefore, affect someone's fertility as a man or as a woman. The most common chemicals to be aware of are probably the ones you have already heard about: BPA (Bisphenol A), phthalates and parabens.
Chemicals in our bodies and difficulties conceiving
According to research, 95 percent of us have EDCs in our bodies already, but it appears higher levels of EDCs have been found in people who struggle to conceive. We are also aware that higher levels of some EDCs are associated with a decreased chance of becoming pregnant among couples who are using assisted reproductive technologies, like IVF treatments. So what this tells us is that even as we go through an assisted fertility journey, it may still be wise to keep an eye on our exposure to harmful chemicals.
Where do I get started improving the environmental factors?
Here are a few ways you can reduce or limit the amount of exposure to EDCs you may have and therefore increase your fertility health.
Be mindful about how you heat your food: Always cook and heat your food in glass or china dishware and cover your meal with a paper towel or plate, rather than using plastic takeaway containers, cling wrap or foil. These contain EDCs that can be absorbed into your food when they are heating up.
Kick the disposable plastic bottles: EDCs are used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles. So instead, get a glass water bottle and use it when you are on the go. Always avoid drinking from plastic bottles that have been sitting in a hot environment, as they will have absorbed EDCs from the plastic.
Turf out the receipts: The shiny surface covering many sales receipts contains BPA, so avoid handling these receipts especially with wet hands.
And finally: the bathroom closet
Cosmetics and personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, hair colourings and cosmetics, can contain EDCs known as parabens. Look for items that say 'paraben free' rather than trying to decipher a list of ingredients on the side. Supermarkets and health food shops are increasing their stock of these products, so give them a go. Every little improvement to your environment will reduce the exposure to harmful substances.
Knowing where harmful chemicals can hide in everyday life, allows you to make changes and decrease your daily exposure to EDCs. Having this knowledge will enable you to avoid them and help improve your chances of having a baby.