Women prepare to clean house on wood tableWhen couples are actively pursuing a pregnancy, they tend to cut out foods and habits that are unhealthy for themselves and for their future child. Unfortunately, it’s possible for products/substances that we don’t necessarily ingest to have a negative impact on our fertility.

Though it’s not technically black and white, studies have shown a link between perfluorinated chemicals (PFC’s) and a delay in pregnancy. What that means is that PFC’s don’t necessarily attribute to infertility, but that they can make it take a lot longer to get pregnant. PFC’s are typically found in cleaning products, carpets and upholstery, and paints and polishes. Though it is important to avoid PFC’s when possible, general environmental exposure to these chemicals will probably have more of an effect on your fertility than limited everyday use of the consumer products that contain them.

Another group of chemicals that has been linked to a negative impact on fertility are phthalates which can be found in beauty and body care products such as shampoo and deodorant as well as in certain plastic containers. A year-long study following 500 couples trying to conceive found that men with the highest blood level of phthalates were 20% less likely to get their partners pregnant. Luckily, you can cut down on you and your partner’s exposure to phthalates by purchasing products that advertise themselves as “phthalate-free.”

One chemical that we’re sure you’ve probably already been warned about is Bisphenol-A (BPA), and for good reason too. These endocrine-disruptors can be found in plastic bottles and bags and some heavy-duty plastic containers and can change the way your hormones function, making it difficult to get pregnant and/or carry a pregnancy to term. Nowadays, BPA’s are much easier to avoid. Just be sure to check your favorite brands’ packaging practices before hitting the supermarket and to use glassware in the microwave.

The ART Fertility Program of Alabama is located in Birmingham, Alabama with additional locations in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. The program is led by Dr. Kathryn Honea, Dr. Virginia Houserman and Dr. Chris Allemand who are Board Certified specialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. All are skilled in comprehensive infertility care and offer a complete range of infertility services.

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