How to get pregnant? The answer used to be simple. But with nearly 40% more women reporting difficulty getting pregnant than 30 years ago, the stakes have changed. It seems like new information comes out every day that impacts the question of how to get pregnant. One recent study found exposure to fracking chemicals could lower sperm count in mice. Others make the connection between infertility and Teflon chemicals, now found in 99% of Americans. More and more, these studies are looking at extremely low levels of toxic chemicals—still considered “non-toxic” by our government–and their impact on human reproduction. I’m not a scientist, but if I was thinking about how to get pregnant, I would avoid these five chemicals because they have repeatedly been linked to infertility. If I was looking for answers to the question of how to get pregnant, I would avoid these five chemicals, because they have been linked to infertility. 1. Parabens are preservatives found in conventional personal care products from moisturizer to sunscreen; look for them prefaced by “methyl,” “ethyl,” “propyl,” “butyl” and “isobutyl.”
2. Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, found in chemical sunscreens (zinc-based sunscreens are a much better bet).
3. Food heavily treated with with Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Insecticides—the same class as DDT. Avoid these by eating USDA Certified Organic.
4. Triclosan in antibacterial soaps, gels, wipes and sprays; studies show washing your hands with soap and water works just as well.
5. BPA in food-can linings, cash register receipts and hard plastics.
But finally, when you do become a parent—if you want to you will, one way or another—take a look at my Guide to Natural Parenting and Pregnancy. Because you shouldn’t have to be a scientist to raise healthy children. Right?
Editor’s note 12.29.15: Add to the list quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as “quats,” which are found in germ-killing household cleaners like Lysol, Clorox and Simple Green as well as swimming pool chemicals, treated wood and static-fighting laundry products. A new animal study linked quats to weaker sperm and decreased ovulation, leading researchers to suggest the same results could be found in humans.