1. Drinking water – from plastic bottles – the chemicals found in plastic water bottles can mimic oestrogen in the body and create an hormonal imbalance. Plastics have been linked to the development of oestrogen dependent conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and infertility. BPA is a common chemical found in plastic which has been shown to reduce egg quality and lower sperm count but this is just one of the many chemicals in plastic so avoid all plastics and opt for glass or stainless steel. Remember, plastic leaches more oestrogen-like compounds when it is heated or cooled so no leaving water bottles in the hot car or re-heating takeaway in disposable containers. Check out the Lifestyle section of the Seed iPhone app to discover other common products which may be negatively effecting your fertility.
2. Too much exercise – while not enough exercise isn’t good for fertility, you may be surprised to know that too little exercise can be just as bad or worse! Excessive exercise can lead to low body fat percentage and reduced oestrogen levels which can inhibit ovulation and also lead to a thin uterine lining which is not suitable for implantation. Aim to exercise gently four times per week if weight loss is required or reduce exercise to twice per week if body weight is low and exercise frequency or intensity is high. Think of exercise as ‘movement and circulation’ and aim to include walking, yoga, pilates and body weight training.
3. Low-fat eating plans – hormones are made from fats, making the intake of healthy fats essential for fertility. Science has now shown that it is an excess of sugar and carbohydrates which cause weight gain, not fats as previously thought. Keep up with science and add plenty of healthy fats to your diet. Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, sardines, salmon, tahini and olives. Follow the recipes and meal suggestions in the Seed iPhone app for inspiration.
4. Coffee – recent research has shown that two serves of caffeine daily in the two months before conception can increase miscarriage risk by 50%. This research applied to both men and women, meaning that if you or your partner is having one cup of tea and one cup of coffee daily leading up to conception, miscarriage risk is substantially increased. Ditch the caffeine and try rooibos tea or dandelion coffee instead. The Seed iPhone App has a great recipe for a Spiced Nut Milk which is a delicious coffee alternative.
5. Nasal spray medications – decongestant medications that dry out nasal secretions can also dry out the mucus membranes responsible for helping to facilitate the travel of sperm into the uterus. In men, these medications can also increase semen clumping which makes it harder for sperm to be released for fertilization. Antihistamines in allergy medications may also inhibit implantation. Be sure to avoid these medications in your fertile window and try a pure saline rinse as a safe alternative.
About the Author:
Belinda Kirkpatrick is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist with a Masters in Reproductive Health and over a decade of clinical experience in helping women improve their fertility and enjoy a healthy pregnancy. She is also the creator of the Seed iPhone App for women’s health.
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