Your future fertility is important and is directly related to your physical well-being. That’s why obstetricians and gynecologists advocate for annual wellness visits.
However, there are also environmental factors that can cause fertility problems, regardless of how healthy you are.
Environmental Factors That Could Negatively Affect Future Fertility
Here are some of the environmental factors – separate from genetic predispositions or current health conditions – that can have a negative impact on your future fertility. Awareness and education are the first steps in taking necessary precautions or proactive measures to facilitate your future conception and a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
A sedentary lifestyle and obesity
While the environment itself isn’t at fault, the culture we live in certainly contributes. There is no doubt that obesity contributes to infertility in both men and women, but studies have also linked sedentary lifestyles (both job-related, as well as recreational) and low sperm quality.
Maintaining a healthy BMI is always a plus, and we also advocate getting up and moving on a regular basis to keep your heart (and those sperm) healthier, too.
Basic household “ingredients”
Unfortunately, our homes are inundated with infertility-attackers, in the form of BPA-laden plastics, certain cleaning agents, pesticide/herbicides (more on that below), chemicals in our health and beauty products, and so on.
Eat foods grown and/or raised without pesticides, herbicides, hormones, etc.
The bottom line is that good common sense, the kind that tells you, “chemicals that kill other living things (like bugs, fungus, plant life, etc.) probably aren’t good for me either.” While pesticide and herbicide manufacturers spend millions of dollars to advertise otherwise, there is prolific scientific evidence correlating traditional herbicides and pesticides with serious reproductive concerns.
Keep those chemicals out of your food chain by prioritizing foods with certified Organic labels or, purchase produce, meat and/or dairy products from local farmers who don’t use them.
Pay attention to toxic exposure at your job site
Your jobsite or work requirements could put you in close proximity to chemicals known to adversely affect fertility. Examples include:
- Radiation (particularly in medical and dental offices where x-rays are used routinely)
- Chemotherapy agents
- Ethylene oxide (used to sterilize medical instruments as well as the manufacturing of certain pesticides)
- DBCP (Dibromochloropropane)
You can review a detailed PDF, published by psr.org, How Chemical Exposures Affect Reproductive Health, for a comprehensive list of chemicals known to harm reproductive organs and/or sperm and egg quality.
Read the labels on health & beauty products
Unfortunately, a good number of chemicals used in standard health and beauty products aren’t good for you or your unborn baby. Phthalates are some of the biggest offenders, as are parabens. Other ingredients to avoid include:
- Fragrance (parfum). That ubiquitous term means synthetic fragrance made from phthalates
- BHA/BHT – a known endocrine (hormone) disruptor
- Siloxanes, often listed as polydimethylsiloxane, methicone and dimethicone
- Petrochemicals, listed as polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, oxynol, PEG, myreth, oleth, laureth, and ceteareth
You’re best off purchasing health and beauty products produced by eco-conscious brand labels.
There’s no need to live in fear, but your future fertility is worth a healthy-dose of awareness and brand consciousness as you make fertility-friendly lifestyle choices.
Contact Overlake and work with OB/Gyns and midwives who look at the big picture when taking care of you and your future pregnancy.