Are you a woman looking a have a baby in the near future or years down the road? Then you NEED to read this!
Let’s be real, we live in a toxic world. Luckily there are SO many things we can do to minimize our exposure and help our bodies get rid of the JUNK. So don't worry, or overly stress. Learn about things to avoid and do your best.
Why should you care? Not only can having a high toxin load set you up for many health conditions and make you feel less than your best today, it can also hugely impact your fertility potential.
In my philosophy on medicine, good fertility equals good health. Meaning that if you are your healthiest self you will have the best fertility potential. Now, I can’t promise that following this plan will preserve your fertility long-term, or you won’t have a baby with health challenges, but I can promise that YOU will feel your best self and your reproductive system will be it’s healthiest.
Fertility optimization’s goal is to have the healthiest baby possible, which starts before conception and continues after birth. The steps below are just one piece of fertility optimization. I believe that the first 1000 days of life, starting at conception, are the most important for determining the long term health of the individual. Beginning optimizing the health of the parents at least 3 months (the time it takes for the egg and sperm to fully mature and develop) before conception along with support for the first 1000 days, from conception to infancy, will result in the healthiest child, and parents, possible. Because let’s be real, once that baby comes it’s a lot of long nights and trying times, so making sure you are as healthy as possible ahead of time will really help.
If you are early in this process, not thinking of having a baby for several years, and on a reliable form of birth control then a real gift to yourself and your baby would be to do a detox. Toxins in the mother’s body can make it difficult to get pregnant, can be a factor in miscarriages, and are eventually passed to the baby. An important principle in environmental medicine and detox is to stop, or limit, the exposures to harmful chemicals and toxic metals. This means clean up your life! The food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, the home you live in, the things you put onto your body, the thoughts you think (not environmental but still very toxic), all affect you.
My basic detox program:
A gentle detox would be to eat a mostly vegetable based diet, drinking plenty of water, 40-100 hours total of sweats, de-stress to reduce overall inflammation, eliminate all alcohol and other drugs, and clean up your home for the long haul. Going through a program like this is far reaching for your health and the planet – those chemicals you use in your home, on your body and in your food have to go somewhere, and where they go is into you and into the ground, the water and the air.
Basic Life Clean Up, Removing exposures:
- Home: Take a thorough look at your home cleaning products, how you wash your clothes, dryer sheets. I recommend a scent free, natural detergent, and NOT using dryer sheets. For cleaning products, buy low-to-no chemical products, or make you own! Stay tuned for recipes.
- Body and Beauty: Take a hard look at your lotions, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, and cosmetics. You can use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website or app for body and cosmetic products. There are so many chemicals added to our beauty products! I've been making my own lotions, deodorants, and toners for years and you can too!
- Food: Eat mostly vegetables and start choosing local, season, and organic food. Organic foods are lower in endocrine-disrupting pesticides and herbicides. This time of year the farmers markets are a great way to eat organic. If this is financially difficult for you think about growing your own vegetables! It’s inexpensive and can be a great way for you to get some connection with nature. Remove alcohol, energy drinks, soda, and other drugs during your detox.
- Water: Another common exposure is through water, I recommend getting a water filter that filters out chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs, and toxic metals.
- Air: Indoor air quality is up to 10 times worse than outdoor air quality. Get an air filter, look for HEPA air filters and HEPA vacuums.
Fat and water soluble toxins, including toxic metals, insecticides, herbicides, solvents, and natural body waste, leave the body through sweating. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It’s such a beautifully designed system we have that we can very effectively get rid of toxins through sweating from our skin. If you choose to do this, you must stay well rested and well fed during the program. Sauna uses up lots of energy; don’t start out tired or hungry!
Another thing to note about sweating for detox is that it releases a lot of toxins into the system which creates a huge potential for them to be eliminated but there is also a potential for them to do harm and cause inflammation in the meantime. Some people report getting headaches at the beginning of a detox. There are several nutrients that can help out your internal detox pathways and help your body get rid of the toxins. See your Naturopathic doctor for an individualized plan.
- Type of sauna: Traditional dry or far-infrared sauna may be used to induce sweating. The temperature of the sauna should be around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, 60 degrees Celsius.
- Really, take breaks! I recommend when you are feeling ready for a break to do a cold shower or plunge into cold water, then take 5 minutes to drink some water, eat a snack, and sit at room temperature before going back into the sauna. The important signs that you need a break for hydration, or electrolyte replenishing are: headache, dizziness, “spaciness”, weakness, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, heart pounding, irritability, or just feeling uncomfortable. These are your signals that it is time to end the day’s sweating session if they do not resolve with water and salty food consumption.
- Snacks: I recommend lots of water! You might also choose to bring along beverages high in sodium and potasium, such as organic fresh vegetable and fruit juices, V8 juice, and sport drinks that are not sugared or caffeinated. You may eat salty foods, like salted rice crackers. Avoid deep-fried salty snacks, such as chips, as their rancid oils slow the detoxification process. Get back in the sauna as soon as you comfortably can.
If you’re already pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 6 months then I recommend you do everything above except for the sauna/sweating portion. This is because when you sweat you release toxins from storage and they are moving around your body and will either be sweated out, peed out or pooped out and if that doesn’t happen they will find a new place to be stored inside you or your babies body. In the meantime, while they are moving around your body for days to weeks, before begin stored or excreted they are causing damage.