Every day, it seems that we are warned of yet another toxin that will wreck our health. For those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, these dire warnings can feel overwhelming and terrifying. Where do you start? What resources are reliable and evidence-based? How do you make measurable change in your lifestyle to protect your fertility or your pregnancy?

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, how to reduce exposure to everyday chemicals at home and in food.

We spoke recently with Dr. Tracey Woodruff, a leading expert in the study of the impacts of environmental contaminants on reproductive and developmental health. By way of a summary, she offered these tips for healthy choices to impact fertility or pregnancy.  We think you will find the list practical, implementable, and affordable.

Top 10 Tips for Reducing Exposure to Common Environmental Chemicals

1. Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fill your plates with clean, organic fresh fruits and veggies, and be sure to wash them thoroughly. This is obviously a healthy choice in general but certainly more crucial when you are thinking of improving your fertility health or already pregnant.

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What should I be eating if I'm trying to get pregnant?

2. Eat Lower on the Food Chain

Practically speaking, this means reducing your meat intake. If you do eat meat, choose the smaller critters. Additionally, select foods in less-plasticized packaging.

3. Eat Foods You Prepare at Home

It’s significantly less complicated to prepare your own food, when you know and have control over where and how food has been purchased and prepared. An added bonus is that eating out less frequently is a great way to combat weight issues, which also impact your fertility.

4. Buy Organic When You Can

The Environmental Working Group has a fantastic database for tracking non-organic foods that are most dangerous and the foods that you don’t necessarily have to purchase organic to be safe. They also offer a free app for those that love that technology at their fingertips.

woman cutting tomatoes in a kitchen
Fill your plates with clean, organic fresh fruits and veggies, and be sure to wash them thoroughly.

5. Don’t Use Pesticides Inside or Outside Your Home

Dr. Woodruff’s website offers downloadable resources for identifying pesticides and finding alternatives for the safe management of common household pests.

6. Leave the Dust at the Door

Many environmental toxins are carried in the dust. You can reduce the introduction of those toxins to your home by simply taking your shoes off at the door before you walk around your floors.

7. Wash Your Hands Before Cooking and Eating

Mom was on to something – wash your hands before dinner! There are, again, exposures in the air and on the things that you touch. This simple act will reduce the chance that those toxins will get into your body while you are trying to conceive or already pregnant.

8. Use a Wet Mop to Clean Hard Floors

The dust that settles on your floors contains chemicals that can be harmful to you and your fertility. There is a wealth of information on safe cleaning products here.

steam mop, view from above

9. Go Fragrance-Free

The chemicals added to create pleasant fragrances quite often have chemicals in them that can impact fertility and pregnancy. When choosing household cleaners, personal hygiene products, make-up, and other products, consider fragrance-free as one more healthy choice.

10. Reduce Your Plastic Use

Plastic is everywhere, so this tip might feel like a challenge. Start small by choosing BPA-free packaging. Taking just a few minutes every night to wash your re-usable water bottle can have a significant positive impact on your fertility health.

Where Can I Go To Learn More?

If you are interested in learning more about reducing exposures to everyday chemicals that impact your fertility or pregnancy health, you should listen to the whole radio show with Dr. Woodruff. Below, we’ve listed a few additional resources mentioned in the show or that we found in our own research.

  • The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization, so you might get pop-ups requesting donations. Their website and databases are quite extensive and reasonably easy to navigate.
  • Dr. Woodruff’s website is full of practical information that is easy to understand for consumers. There’s also a wealth of information for clinicians.
  • This article lists 8 Mobile Apps To Help Reduce Exposure to Harmful Chemicals. (Disclaimer: this link is not an endorsement of the hosting site, merely another resource that is easy to access for readers. Do your own research and find the app that works for you.)

What steps can you take starting today to improve your fertility or pregnancy health? Share your ideas in the comments!

Image Credit: gagegecko; Tasha Chawner