Flashback: High school health Class. The late 1990s. Videos about abstinence and the harmful effects of drug use. Discussions about healthy eating habits revolving around the food pyramid and the importance of exercise.
Fast forward 20 years, and I also needed a crash course on fertility. We discussed how not to get pregnant, but I could have also used a class that discussed fertility and how to protect your fertility when trying to get pregnant many years (at least it was for me) later after high school. After educating myself, here is my crash course for you on how to protect your fertility. Even if you’re done having children, hopefully, these lessons can help your daughter, niece, or friend. And these lessons are good for your overall health as well.
Lesson 1: Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
Until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of them. Search the internet, and you’ll find a variety of definitions and examples. What are they? Simply put, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system: the glands and organs that produce and release hormones. While I’ve learned it’s tough to eliminate exposure to these chemicals, it is easy to reduce it.
Check some everyday products you use and swap two out for a “cleaner” version. Instead of higher chemical soaps, we use Everyone soaps in our house. I constantly use lotion, so I choose Cetaphil and Vinacream, which contain fewer harmful ingredients than other options I’ve used. This small action can help you protect your fertility.
Lesson 2: Familiarize Yourself with the EWG
EWG stands for Environmental Working Group. Through this website, you can quickly search the products you use to find how they rank regarding health hazards. The ratings go from “EWG Verified” to “10,” which is considered “high hazard.” The website breaks down the type of chemicals in the product and how they may affect your health. There is also an app available.
Go to the Environmental Working Group website or download the app. Maybe you search for your makeup or shampoo. Perhaps you find your deodorant. A word of caution: DO NOT GO DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE. You don’t want to become too obsessive. Remember, the goal is to reduce endocrine disruptors (which fall under the “Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity” category on the EWG’s website) and not eliminate them.
Lesson 3: MOVE and BREATHE
Every website I visited for this article relayed the importance of exercise (which we all knew from health class in high school!), but many also suggested activities that can help you relax—for example, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, or even a simple breathing exercise.
With this last assignment, I’m keeping it simple. Go for a walk outside. With a spouse or without. With your children or without. It doesn’t matter. Enjoy moving your body while also knowing that the simple act of walking is one way to protect your fertility.
While I wouldn’t want actually to flash back to high school health class, I hope these three lessons are helpful for you and protecting your fertility or overall health. Once you’ve completed the homework, I’d love your thoughts.