Let's Talk About Fertility...
In the past decade we’ve seen a continued escalation in health conditions affecting kids, from allergies (including food and environmental) to asthma, eczema, autoimmune diseases, and also a massive rise in the number of kids with autism. Many of these conditions can be traced back to environmental toxin exposure. For the last 30 years, evidence from environmental health studies have led to growing agreement amongst scientists that these toxins are playing a role in the incidences and prevalence of these and other health conditions in the US. These exposures also affect our fertility and genetics, long before birth due to toxic exposures in the womb, and we pass the impact down to our babies at conception. Placenta not a barrier, it’s a sieve.
For a long time, it was believed that the placenta was a barrier, protecting the baby from external toxins, but now, we understand that the placenta acts more like a sieve and our babies receive a constant streaming download of toxins via maternal-fetal transfer. A mother’s stores of fat-soluble toxins is released during pregnancy and can expose the baby to harm.
Now, none of this is meant to mom-shame or freak you out if you’re already pregnant. I'm here to provide you with some steps to improve whatever space you are in at this moment.
It can be difficult to plan ahead when nearly half of all pregnancies are a surprise! However, when you and your partner can plan ahead, it’s worth it to spend a few months, ideally, cleaning up your toxin exposure and levels before conception.
Detoxing Before Pregnancy
One of my favorite medical professionals, Dr. Aviva Romm, is a Family Practice Physician, Midwife and Herbalist who specializes in Women’s Integrative Health, and I like to follow her detox protocol in my Midwifery practice.
# 1 – Its important to mention that detoxing during pregnancy is NOT appropriate or safe. Ideally, women should not intentionally do a deep detox within 6 weeks of getting pregnant, or doing a heavy metals detox within 3-6mos before conception.
# 2 – Go Organic – Eliminate white sugar, processed food, unhealthy fats and make sure your diet is as organic as possible. Most pesticides and herbicides are water-soluble, and once you've eliminated them from your diet, the toxins can leave your body within a matter of days. Follow the EWG's recommendations for the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 – meat should always be organic. This goes for your skincare products as well. I get all my make-up and skincare products from Beautycounter. They have something called The Never List, it is their commitment to go leaps and bounds above what is legally required to provide safer and cleaner skincare products to everyone. This list is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful ingredients that will NEVER be used in any of their products. (The US has only partially banned 30 harmful ingredients. Thirty? I mean...WHAT???) For comparison, the EU has banned over 1,400 harmful ingredients!!
# 3 – Support Your Body’s Natural Ability To Detox – make sure you are getting enough greens and water to support healthy daily bowel movements and fermented foods that support your liver in its job detoxing your body.
# 4 – Supplements and Clean Household Products - Take a prenatal vitamin that has methylfolate, Probiotic, Omega-3 Fatty Acid, and 2-5K IU of Vit D daily. Avoid toxic cosmetics, baby products, household cleaners & detergents (the Thieves Household Cleaner and Laundry Detergent from Young Living are my favorite. We literally use the cleaner for everything...windows, floor, counters, mirrors, bathtub, etc.), plastic containers and flame retardant chemicals. I'd even recommend getting rid of your microwave if you haven't already, and getting safer cookware like ceramic, cast iron or stainless steel.
# 5 - De-Stress!! Stress messes with your hormones and causes fertility problems. It messes with your blood sugar and insulin levels and causes pregnancy problems. And stress in pregnancy can lead to depression, anxiety, and obesity in our kids. In fact, it's estimated that at least 80% of all health problems are caused by stress. WOWZA! That’s a lot of mess from stress. So pick your healing tools, walking on the beach, journaling, yoga, meditation, whatever you need to do to give yourself a healthy dose of self-love EVERY DAY!!
These are all very easy steps you can take prior to conception and continue throughout pregnancy and postpartum. And since I'm being real with you gals, I really hope that y'all choose to make these forever Lifestyle changes!
Your partner can do all of these things too! Well, they don't have to take Prenatal Vitamins, ha, but they should be detoxing their bodies and environments too!
*If you wish to do a more in-depth detox, like a heavy metals detox that includes supportive supplements and bloodwork, you need to do so under the care of a medical professional. The information on this blog is meant for educational purposes only, is not meant for diagnosis, and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. Always consult with your health care provider.
Meet Rachel, the Author
I'm a Licensed Midwife and busy mom of two extremely active boys. I manage several different businesses, while also trying to maintain a household, my family and my sanity. Some days it works, some days it doesn't!