Your TTC Strategy 2: Develop Healthy Preconception Habits
What to know and put into action well before you get pregnant
Family Planning Boards
Caffeine: Drinking as little as the equivalent of one cup of coffee a day has been associated with an increased risk of a delay of conception and drinking three or more cups of tea or coffee a day is associated with a significantly increased risk of miscarriage. So it is best to avoid caffeine if you are trying to get pregnant.
A growing body of scientific evidence clearly shows that prospective parents should pay more attention to environmental chemicals and their impacts on reproductive health. Laboratory studies prove that many synthetic chemicals cause fertility-related damage in animals, often at very low doses.
Some 85,000 synthetic chemicals have been registered for use in the United States. Every year one thousand to two thousand more are added to the list. They’ve become inescapable, pervading air, water, food, homes—and our bodies. Actual measurements, called “body burden surveys,” of contaminants in people show that average Americans have hundreds of manufactured chemicals in their tissues (including amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood) at levels high enough to be of concern.
Once you become pregnant, the developing fetus becomes exposed to your body burden of chemicals. Fetal and early life exposures affect the development of your offspring up to adulthood. Many of these impacts are irreversible, especially those involving abnormalities of the reproductive tract, impaired ability to respond to hormonal stimulation as an adult, and decreased sperm production or function in the male offspring. Animal experiments show clear and consistent patterns of developmental impact.
It is not possible to avoid all exposure to chemicals, but you can decrease your chemical burden by avoiding common chemicals such as:
- cigarette smoke
- mercury in fish<
- pesticides on food
- use of chemicals in the home (herbicides, pesticides, personal care products that contain phthalates, polycarbonate plastic bottles, dry cleaning, cleaning products, chemical air fresheners, fabric softeners, paint, glue, and gasoline)
- chemicals found in processed foods
Because it may take some time to clear accumulated chemicals from your system, it is important to begin these measures even before considering pregnancy and certainly six to 12 months prior to conceiving.
While there are forces in your life you can’t control entirely, such as the quality of air in your neighborhood, or the need to work to earn a paycheck, there is much you can do in the way of health-promoting lifestyle choices that will help you in your goal to get pregnant.
Your next TTC strategy: Know the System (the Reproductive System)
Have you signed up for our customized Preconception Newsletter yet?
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN