I accompany many couples through their fertility journey. I always talk about the things they can do to improve their fertility but unfortunately, there are also things harming their fertility and conception efforts. I think it’s really important not to give scary information that often invokes a sense of doom and gloom, instead I like to offer solutions. However, I do think it’s important to share 5 things with you that may be harming your fertility efforts. These things are easy swaps or simple things to avoid and be conscious of. Remember, every small step forward with have a huge positive and profound effect on your health and on your fertility.
5 Things Impacting Your Fertility
Stress causes inflammation, inflammation leads to decreased fertility. It’s really as simple as that. Stress comes from both internal factors as well as external factors. Certain foods can cause stress on the body, that would be an internal factor whereas being stressed from say work, is an external source of stress. Both of these stressors have the same impact on your body and fertility.
So, how can you decrease stress?
Start by saying no. Give yourself permission to say no to things that do not fill your cup, to things that are feeling draining and unfulfilling, to things that are unnecessary and are not bringing you joy.
Lose the guilt. You can not do everything. You can have it all, but you cannot have it all at the same time. There is absolutely no reason that you should feel guilty for saying no. Guilt has the same effect on the body as stress. Which means even if you’re saying no to running extra errands or taking on another project, if you are riddled with guilt, you are causing inflammation in the body.
Deep breathing and meditation has a profound effect on stress and guilt. Start by taking 3 deep breaths before every meal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then, once you start feeling stress, take 3 more deep breaths. Once you’ve mastered that, try a 5 or 10 minute mediation first thing in the morning. To read more about the benefits of mediation and mindfulness, you can read this post.
Alcohol, just like stress causes inflammation in the body. It is another toxin that the body, specifically the liver needs to process and detoxify from the body. In men, beer in particular has a massive impacts fertility. Beer actually causes testosterone to convert into its more potent, dangerous form called dihydrotestosterone, which leads to inflammation in the prostate. Beer also depletes zinc which is an essential nutrient/mineral for male fertility.
Remember, when we are talking about fertility, we need to ensure everything in the body is performing optimally, that everything is working together. In the body, nothing works independently from anything, everything needs to work together. Likely if you are struggling with fertility issues, there is also an imbalance elsewhere in the body. This takes us back to alcohol, if the liver is focused on breaking alcohol down and detoxifying it from the body, it means that our body is not focused entirely on getting pregnant.
Action Task: both partners can try going 30 days without drinking
3. Environmental Toxins
There is literally thousands of toxins in our environment, many of which you have zero control over. But there are some that you do have control over and you can limit your exposure to these toxins which will decrease your toxic load.
Environmental toxins are everywhere from the air we breathe that is full of things like petrochemicals and emissions to the products we use in our homes and on our bodies. The most dangerous toxins in my opinion that are absolutely impacting your fertility are the pesticides that are on our food. These pesticides have been labelled as endocrine (read: hormone) disrupting, carcinogenic or possibly carcinogenic
(cancer-causing), and even neurological (brain) disruptors. These toxins are also known to cross the placental barrier and be in umbilical cord fluid.
How you can decrease your exposure?
Start by swapping your conventionally grown produce for organic. You can read this post on what’s the most important to buy organic.
Next, start swapping out your personal care products like make-up and skincare for cleaner, non-toxic alternatives. Head over to this post all about switching to cleaner skincare and make-up and how to do it without getting completely overwhelmed.
Then, do the same with your household products like cleaning products, laundry detergent, candles, and cookware. For more information about what to look for when detoxifying your home, you can read this post.
4. Thyroid Issues
The thyroid gland is also known as the “Master Gland”. It is a butterfly shaped gland which sits at the base of your throat, right above where your collarbone is. The reason this gland is called the “master gland” is because it releases hormones which are essential for basically every tissue, organ, and part of your body.
Unforunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked glands in the body. Almost 5% of individuals over 12 years old have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (under active thyroid disease). There is a large percentage of individuals who have not been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or any other thyroid issues, but have what is called “Subclinical Hypothyroidism” meaning it isn’t underperforming enough to have a hypothyroid diagnosis.
Subclinical hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism contribute largely to fertility issues. Symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism or diagnosable hypothyroidism include:
– stubborn weight gain
– hair loss
– constantly being cold
– low basal body temperature
– irregular periods
– fatigue/low energy levels
What can you do?
If you are struggling with unexplained thyroid issues, you can work with a alternative healthcare practitioner, like a nutritionist. You can ask your doctor for a full thyroid blood panel. This panel should include:
– Thyroid Antibodies
– Reverse T3
You can request a copy of your results and your natural healthcare practitioner can help you understand the results and come up with an action plan for moving forward.
One of the most important parts of the fertility puzzle is mindset. This seems simple enough, but it is often the most challenging pieces of the puzzle to solve. Mindset often changes as you struggle with fertility and/or if you experience loss along your journey. Believing your body can and will get pregnant is one of the most impactful changes you can make.
What to do?
Begin by changing your “if I get pregnant” to “when I get pregnant”. Use an as-if mindset. Rather than, I will change my diet and lifestyle habits when I get pregnant, picture yourself as already pregnant. Picture yourself as-if you are already pregnant. What in your life will change when you get pregnant? Start making those changes now!
Use mantras. Everytime you look at yourself in a mirror repeat a mantra out loud, mantras can be anything. Try one of these:
“I am capable and loving”
“I believe that something wonderful is about to happen”
“I welcome new beginnings and new life”
“I am completely open to something amazing coming my way”
“I completely love and trust my body”