By Janet Levatin, MD
Recent statistics show that increasing numbers of people are suffering from infertility. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2010 over 6.7 million US women, teenagers to 44 years old, had an impaired ability to conceive. Another study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that 1 in 6 couples trying to conceive were unsuccessful after one year of trying.
What accounts for these alarming statistics? The answers are really not all that surprising.
Environmental toxins are everywhere, and many of them impair both humans’ and animals’ ability to conceive and carry healthy pregnancies. Toxins discussed in both the medical literature and the popular press include pesticides that can disrupt sperm production in men and hormonal regulation in women. For example, chemicals used for lawn care and agriculture, particularly those that contain glyphosphate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup, have strong links to infertility. Glyphosate is just one of 84,000 known toxins in our environment, and only a fraction of them have been studied thoroughly with regard to their negative effects on human biology.
Personal care products and cleaning products that contain fragrances, and the fluoride and pollutants in drinking water can also be toxic to healthy conception. Pharmaceuticals and vaccinations, especially the human papilloma virus vaccine (Gardasil), can also have a negative impact on fertility.
Genetically-modified foods can contain a microorganism shown to cause infertility and miscarriages in animals, and can do the same in humans. Other foods that can have a negative impact on fertility include ocean fish laden with mercury and farmed fish, which are often grown in unhealthy conditions. Referred to as “factory fish,” they can cause an imbalance in the omega fat levels of the body (contributing to increased levels of inflammatory omega 6 levels over healthier omega 3 levels), which is associated with low sperm counts and thus infertility.
Today’s wheat is not your grandmother’s wheat. It has been modified since the 1970s, and contains significantly more gluten, making it much more inflammatory and unhealthy for consumption. Gluten-containg foods have been linked to a host of health problems including Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a well-known cause of infertility.
The good news is you can take steps to increase your likelihood of conceiving naturally and delivering a healthy baby. Following these suggestions for six months to a year before trying to conceive will increase your likelihood of a natural conception and delivery of a robust, healthy newborn.
1. Eat organic whole foods, and avoid processed and gluten-containing foods (especially wheat). Processed foods come from factories and packages, and do not nourish the body adequately. There is a long list of wholesome whole foods to choose from instead: pasture-raised meat and poultry, wild-caught fish (salmon, trout, herring and anchovies are some of the best choices), free-range eggs, raw and steamed vegetables, seeds, nuts, gluten-free grains such as buckwheat and quinoa, and sea vegetables.
2. Drink purified water.
3. Choose companies to care for your lawn non-toxically. In the greater Cleveland area, Good Nature Organic Lawn Care is an excellent choice.
4. Use simple, nontoxic indoor cleaning products. A few of the companies I like are Ecover, Seventh Generation, and H2O at Home. Much of your cleaning can also be done with vinegar, baking soda, and plain water.
In addition to avoiding toxins, you can improve your health and heal your body, mind, and spirit with holistic therapies that will prepare you for conceiving a healthy child, carrying your baby to term, and delivering naturally.
- Homeopathy, provided by an experienced practitioner, will address chronic health problems and energetic imbalances, be they physical, mental, or emotional.
- Acupuncture is recognized by both conventional medical providers and alternative practitioners to assist with fertility.
- Bio-energetic therapies such as TFT (Thought Field Therapy) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) eliminate toxic emotions and habitual negative thoughts that are holding back your life progress.
- Identify missing nutrients through specialized blood tests, and replete the deficiencies. For example, chromium, has been linked to infertility, genetic fragility and blood sugar dysregulation.
These suggestions will help anyone who is trying to conceive. Then come the joys and challenges of natural birth and raising a vibrant, healthy child. We are here to help you achieve these goals, including helping you to decide about vaccinations. At TIMC, we offer a variety of programs to help you raise your children naturally, including nutrition and lifestyle counseling, homeopathy for acute and chronic problems, non-toxic help with resolution of allergies (should they occur), a non-toxic option for supporting your baby’s immune system and boosting resistance to infection (homeoprophylaxis), and more.