Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cleaning Up Your Environment Preconception

The preconception period is such an important time and I wish more women took time to properly prepare their bodies and environment for the journey of pregnancy. During pregnancy you are building a human being from scratch. The food you eat, the environment in which you live, the stress of your daily life, etc can all play a role in the long term health and wellness of your baby. Taking time preconception to clean up your environment – both outside and inside your body, can play a big role in your fertility, a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Here are ten things to consider during your preconception period to help clean up your environment.

1. Reduce chemicals in your home by switching to natural cleaners or even better, make your own. Vinegar, water and a few drop of tea tree oil do an amazing job of cleaning up your home.  Be cautious with the other chemical laden products you bring into your home – paint, new carpets, furniture, dry cleaning, etc. Allow products to off gas outdoors for a day or two before bringing them into your home.

2. Reduce chemicals in your home by switching to more natural skin care products. We use a ton of chemicals daily on our skin, hair, nails, etc. The skin is very absorbent and all of those chemicals do have an effect on our health and well being, including our fertility. Take some time to check how the products you currently use are rated at

3. Reduce chemicals by choosing organic foods. There are a lot of chemicals used in farming today. These chemicals are in our food – meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables are all contaminated with toxic chemicals which also affect our fertility and can have a detrimental effect on our health and well being and the healthy and well being of future children.  Can’t afford to go all organic, I suggest choosing organic meat and dairy and checking out the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen. The dirty dozen are the top 12 contaminated fruits and vegetables and ones you should choose organic.

4. Reduce chemicals by choosing real food over processed food.  Processed foods contain many different chemicals, additives, food colourings, preservatives, etc. Many of these have been shown to have adverse health effects in both adults and children. Make the choice to eat real food which has not been processed and package with harmful chemicals.

5.  Reduce your exposure to other toxins which can affect your health and fertility – smoking, second hand smoke and alcohol. Be cautious with over the counter medications and take some time to research any prescription medications you are taking. Be informed about what you put into your body and the effects it may have on you.

6. Leave your shoes at the door. Believe it or not we bring a lot of undesirable germs, bacteria and chemicals into our homes via the bottom of our shoes. Leave your shoes at the door and everything you brought home with you will stay right there.

7.  Open your windows. It has been suggested our indoor home environment is more toxic that the outdoor environment, and with all of the chemicals we bring into our homes, I can understand this. Open the windows to allow the exchange of air in your home, sending the toxic chemicals out and bringing the fresh air in.

8.  Support your body in its detoxification process. Your body has an amazing ability to detoxify chemicals and toxins from your body. The problem, in our society today is we are bombarded by toxins on a regular basis and the natural detoxification pathways of the body (liver, lungs, lymphatic system, kidneys, blood, skin and colon) become burdened.  You can help your body and support these systems with a few easy steps.

Start your day with hot water and the juice of half a lemon, which will kick start your digestive system and liver and alkalinize your body.
Before you shower each morning, do a dry brush to stimulate the lymphatic system and remove dead skin cells.
Participate in moderate intensity exercise which works your lungs, allowing you to expel toxins, makes your sweat, allowing your skin to expel toxins and if you choose an impact activity you will also stimulate the lymphatic system.
Using homeopathic remedies can help your liver sort and better eliminate toxins from your body.
Drinking lots of water, 2L per day, will help the kidneys function optimally and aid in the elimination of toxins. Water will also help to support proper elimination via the colon.
Include lots of fruits, vegetables and high fibre grains in your diet to help support the colon in its role and to prevent constipation.
9.  Support your body with as nutrient dense whole foods diet. This type of diet provides you with optimum nutrition to best support health, well being, fertility, a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  If you are not sure where to begin, hit your local farmers market, before you will be the best foods to support your body and prepare it for the journey ahead. And of course a visit with a nutritionist specializing in preconception care would also be a huge benefit as you take time to prepare for pregnancy.

10. Take time to reduce your stress. Stress plays a large role in our hormonal system and can also be the trigger for unhealthy eating habits, poor sleep habits, and so on. Take time for yourself every day. Use the time to focus on you and the journey you are about to embark on. Go for a walk, mediate, take a yoga class, read, enjoy a bath – do whatever allows you to relax and de-stress on a daily basis.

Nothing in life is guaranteed and nothing is risk free, but by taking time preconception to clean up your environment, you take steps towards achieving optimum fertility, a healthy pregnancy, a wonderful birth experience and a healthy baby. Every pregnancy should begin in an optimum state of well being, it is best for both mom and baby. Take time, take care of yourself and ensure a healthy start to your pregnancy by taking time preconception to clean up your external and internal environment.

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