When trying to conceive (TTC), it is essential to limit your exposure to toxins that have a negative impact on your fertility. Common home items to avoid if you want to conceive include those with potential dangers linked to these commonplace products.
1. Home Paint
TTC patients should avoid exposure to oil-based paints, paint thinner, and painting equipment containing lead or mercury. According to the American Pregnancy Association, latex paints containing ethylene glycol ethers and biocides should be avoided. These substances increase both your risk of miscarriage and your child’s risk of physical and mental birth abnormalities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead exposure can cause miscarriage, early birth, low birth weight, learning challenges, behavioral issues, and harm to the brain, kidneys, or nervous system in an unborn child. If you wish to prepare your home for a future child, delegate the task to your partner, hire a professional, or enlist the aid of a friend.
2. Can Foods Containing BPA
Certain dangers linger in your kitchen. BPA, a toxin present in plastics that can leak into food, poses a threat to fertility and infant development.
Erika Nichelson, D.O., an OB-GYN, advises, “Canned foods can be lined with BPA, so fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal, but be sure to wash them to avoid pesticides thoroughly.”
The glad tidings? Numerous manufacturers offer BPA-free cans for their products today. Check the label or this list to determine which brands are OK with TTC.
3. Phthalate-Containing Perfumes
It may be time to revise your distinctive fragrance. Perfume and other synthetic fragranced cosmetics contain chemicals that research suggests may upset hormone levels, impact fertility, and accumulate in breast milk if you become pregnant.
Research published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that phthalates, which can be present in a wide variety of everyday products from detergents and food packaging to hairspray and perfume, may increase the risk of premature birth in pregnant women.
Avoid items that include phthalates and synthetic musk, sometimes known as “white musk.” Scanton warns, however, that because fragrance components are rarely stated on product labels, the only surefire method to avoid these chemicals is to use fragrance-free products.
4. Anti-Aging Lotion with Retinoids
When trying to conceive, purge your makeup bag of any products containing retinoids, a popular chemical that is said to reverse aging and minimize wrinkles. This includes foundation and facial masks.
“Retinoids are a class of chemicals related to vitamin A that, when ingested orally, are teratogenic (meaning they inhibit embryonic or fetal development). We urge patients to avoid them when trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy because they can cause harm in the early embryonic stages, from two to seven weeks, as well as during fetal development,” Dr. Khalid M. Sultan, explains. Concerns include craniofacial malformations, cardiovascular flaws, and central nervous system disorders; hence careful avoidance is recommended.
Ingredients like glycolic acid and vitamin C are healthy alternatives to retinol during pregnancy.
5. Nail Products Using Acetone
Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., a primary care physician in Washington, D.C., recommends avoiding acetone-based nail products. Because we do not completely understand the effects of acetone on fertility, many experts advise avoiding frequent or long-term exposure.
6. Non-Prescription Medical Products
Doris Day, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist and RealSelf’s chief aesthetic advisor, states, “Generally, over-the-counter treatments are not evaluated on pregnant women, and we simply do not have the data.” When it comes to nonprescription beauty and wellness products, it is best to take precautions.
Dr. Day says, “I advise my patients to discontinue their medications as soon as they discover they’re pregnant and to schedule a follow-up appointment so we may review and change their regimen as necessary.” I also suggest they consult with their obstetrician to determine whether they have any unique constraints.
7. Scrubs, Soaps, and Lotions Containing Parabens
Check the ingredient lists of your body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. According to Jerald S. Goldstein, M.D., parabens are a form of preservative used to prevent the growth of microorganisms and have the propensity to take on estrogenic properties.
“Although everyone generates estrogen, excessive amounts have a negative impact on fertility. Estrogen controls hormone production in both males and women. When hormones are out of balance, the likelihood of producing healthy eggs or sperm is diminished. Search for items with paraben in the ingredient list, such as propylparaben, ethylparaben, etc., and eliminate as many as possible in the six months preceding and during conception,” he clarifies.