Preparing for Pregnancy; Avoiding Toxins That Can Affect Fertility | Erica Hoke, Fertility Coach

Preparing for Pregnancy; Avoiding Toxins That Can Affect Fertility | Erica Hoke, Fertility Coach
If you're trying to get pregnant, it's important to avoid toxins that can affect your fertility. Unfortunately, these toxins are everywhere – from the foods we eat to the products we use! But don't worry, I'm here to help. In this post, I'll share some tips on how to prepare for pregnancy and avoid these harmful toxins. Thanks for reading!

The easiest way to impact your toxin load is to switch your laundry products for ones that are “green”. You can’t trust that because a brand is labeled -dye free & fragrance free it’s a good choice. Look up the detergent on ewg.org to determine its rating (red/ yellow/green) and don’t assume because one product in a brand is clean that the others are also. If it has a fragrance listed and it’s on a store shelf it 100% is synthetic (even If it says “with essential oils” and should be avoided.)

Toothpaste is another product that has a BIG impact on health as your mouth is a mucus membrane (which means it’s a super highway to your bloodstream). Three ingredients to avoid in toothpaste are sodium lauryl sulphate, triclosan and fluoride. Yes, I said it. Avoid fluoride. Fluoride is classified as a neurotoxin and has a HUGE impact on your health. If your surprised, I encourage you to do your own research.
Avoid personal care products (makeup, deodorant, body wash, shampoos) that have any of the following ingredients.
  1. Sodium lauryl sulphate
  2. triclosan
  3. propylene glycol (PEG’s), pluronic
  4. phthalates
  5. parabens
While we’re talking about personal care… I have to just throw this in here! You have to switch out your deodorant for a NON aluminum/anti-perspirant. Metals are known hormone disruptors in both women and men with aluminum being shown to impact all areas of sperm quality. This is a tough one for most people and deserves its own blog-coming soon!

While we’re talking about removing toxins you might be shocked to know that popular-in-the-infertility- world lubricants contain chemicals that are known to reduce sperm motility and in some cases side affects include vaginal bleeding. Avoid products with ingredients such as poly sorbate-80 or hydroxyethyl-cellulose a thickening agent in lubricants and cosmetics.

The bottom line is ..all of these chemicals add up and affect your body in various ways. It’s true that for some people they don’t cause issues, but if you’re reading this and challenged with infertility, I’m guessing that you’re going to need to support your body differently. These chemicals affect your gut biome (which is SO important to fertility) disrupts your hormones (clearly a problem) and also affects your endocrine system which is equally as important as your hormone health.

Are you looking to avoid toxins that have a big impact? Check out our list of the top six toxins to avoid. These include sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, poly-sorbate-80, phthalates and parabens, propylene glycol. Be sure to also watch out for these chemicals in your laundry products, toothpaste, lubricants, and personal care products like body washes. Each of these toxins can affect gut health, disrupt hormones and disrupt thyroid/endocrine systems. Need help making changes? Accelerate your Fertility Boot Campis 12 weeks to maximize your chance of getting pregnant or staying pregnant – start by avoiding these harmful toxins!
 

What if I can't do IVF? But I want to get pregnant...

What if I can't do IVF? But I want to get pregnant...
Hopeless.
That’s how most women who can’t do IVF feel when they realize that’s their next step, or even worse they are told it’s their first step. If your one of the millions of women who are dealing with infertility, I’m here to tell you that not being able to do IVF is not a dead end on the road to fertility (like you’ve likely been told) Nor is it a hopeless situation if you don’t have the finances to fund ART (applied reproductive technology treatment).

Just because you are not a candidate for IVF doesn’t mean you can’t change your overall health. Yes- even IF – you have endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, blocked tubes, low AMH, DOR, thyroid issues, factor 5 Leiden, MTHFR and are over the age of 35. How do I know? Because I had 7 of the diagnosis on that list, and I was still able to get pregnant 4 TIMES after being told that I would need donor eggs. Just in case your thinking LUCK! Don’t fool yourself. One-time would-be luck but clearly to have that much luck would be like hitting the lottery 4 times.

Be empowered. The good news is you have way more control over your health and fertility you’re your led to believe. Overall health is the goal and pregnancy is the outcome. Even with seven diagnosis I STILL would have told you that I was “pretty healthy” but my body was telling a different story. I made as many diet and lifestyle changes as I could, as fast as possible. You can check out another blog about what changes I made to get pregnant HERE.


In the end had I not gotten pregnant I would have considered donor eggs. If this is something you’re considering and want to read someone’s personal story and be able to connect with them, check out “Infertility Success, Stories of Help and Hope for Your Journey" .Both Constance Lewis and Laura Watson were able to get to the family of their dreams using donor eggs. They both have resources at the end of their chapters to help you move forward on your journey.


Embryo adoption is a process where couples or individuals who are struggling with infertility adopt an embryo that has been created and stored at a fertility clinic. This option is becoming more popular as more people are becoming aware of it and as the technology surrounding fertility treatments improves. There are two main types of embryo adoption: open and closed. In an open adoption, the couple or individual knows who the donor is and may even have contact with them. In a closed adoption, the identity of the donor is kept anonymous. Couples or individuals can also choose embryos based on gender and other genetic factors. Embryo adoption is a great option for couples or individuals who are struggling with infertility because it allows them to experience pregnancy. It is also much cheaper than other fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you are struggling with infertility, embryo adoption may be a good option for you to consider.

I Can Get Pregnant, But I Can't STAY Pregnant- 5 Tests to Test For

I Can Get Pregnant, But I Can't STAY Pregnant- 5 Tests to Test For
If you're experiencing recurrent miscarriages, it's important to get to the bottom of what's causing them. Here are three tests you should ask your doctor to run.
Read more...

How to Get Pregnant Faster After 35- 5 Tips

How to Get Pregnant Faster After 35- 5 Tips
Are you having trouble getting pregnant after 35? You're not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. But don't worry – there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant faster. We'll discuss some tips in 3 key areas, Detox, Heal, and Empower- that should help you conceive quicker.

1. Talk to your doctor about your fertility concerns- If you feel brushed off, are not getting the answers you feel you deserve or want a practitioner with a more aggressive approach I STRONLY recommend getting a second opinion. Be empowered to ask questions about what a reasonable next step or next test would be. No doctor is going to care as much about your health and fertility as you and your partner. And that's OKAY. Just ask. 

2. Reduce toxins in as many areas as you can. Water, diet and personal care products are all at the top of the list. Reduce the amount of processed food you eat, switch to organic as much as your budget will allow, find green(er) personal care products (soaps, lotions, make-up) and avoid fragrance when possible. These small steps might not seem like they can make a big impact but in some women (like me) it makes a HUGE difference.

3. Take prenatal vitamins to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need BUT not any prenatal is a good choice. Make sure the prenatal is from whole food sources, contains folate (not folic acid) is NOT a gummy (lead, poor quality) and is dye free.

4. Reduce stress levels as much as possible. Can I just say it? INFERTILITY is STRESSFUL! There's no way around it so let's call out the elephant in the room and get some tools in our toolbox so that we can do a better job at helping ourselves, protecting our relationships and cope better so that we can continue. 

5. Consider using natural methods to boost fertility, such as acupuncture or herbs. If you have an irregular cycle, no cycle, want to support your IUI/IVF transfer or want to support your natural fertility acupuncture is for you. There's a ton of research about how acupuncture along side these other treatments increases positive outcomes. Depending on your symptoms the protocol can be between 1-3 times per week. Make sure you find a doctor of acupuncture that specializes in infertility. 

If you’re looking to increase your fertility, detoxing and reducing stress are two great places to start. There are many ways to detox, but we recommend starting with a gentle cleanse that focuses on whole foods and plenty of fluids. And don’t forget to reduce stress in your life – this can be done through EFT, AFT, visualization, affirmations, meditation, yoga, grounding or simply taking time for yourself each day. Are you ready to get started? Accelerate Your  Fertility Boot Camp can help you optimize your fertility and live with more peace while your doing it. 

Urea Plasma and 4 Other Tests YOU must Have BEFORE Your First IVF

 Urea Plasma and 4 Other Tests YOU must Have BEFORE Your First IVF
Don't ASSUME these tests are done/ going to be done before your treatment. In SO many cases these tests are only done AFTER a failed procedure...which means heartbreak, time and money for you. 
Speak up for yourself and get the BEST care you deserve. 
(trigger warning loss)

Imagine having painful UTI symptoms for 2 years. Aside from the discomfort you have been bounced around from specialist to specialist only to be told in the end your pain is in your head…Until finally, finally! Someone listens to you. Not only does your new REI listen to you they validate that a test should have been done before you had 9 failed medicated cycles, 5 failed IUI’s and 3 miscarriages, all that potentially could have been prevented. You and your husband are each given a $10 antibiotic and the next cycle you’re pregnant with your second child. Fourteen months after that, with no medical intervention you’re pregnant with your third child. This test is urea plasma which sometimes the only symptom is infertility.


Imagine today is the day! Your embryos have been frozen and you are expecting a call from the clinic with the results. Except they never call you …and when you call they let you know both of your last two eggs have perished. You’re devastated and angry. Then the anger deepens when they then suggest a simple blood test. Six IUI’s and two IVF procedures and NOW they’re recommending a simple blood test that you assumed was done with the initial labs. Your husbands results are abnormal. Some, if not ALL of this could have been prevented. With on genetic test for balance translocation.


You are pregnant with twins! You're shocked, but so excited and happy! One morning at 13 weeks you wake up and feel off. You go to the bathroom and realize you’re bleeding. You’re miscarrying your twins. It happens, they say. Time passes and eventually the pain eases. You and your husband decide to try again. One day you get the positive test you’ve been hoping for. At your first appointment they let you know your hCG levels are high. High enough to be twins …again. You're terrified, excited and worried. Twins again, what are the odds? You pass the 13 week mark and then the 18 week mark you begin to relax. At 23 weeks you start bleeding again. You are admitted to the hospital to stop the bleeding and contractions but they can’t. You lose both babies at 23 weeks. While you're still in the hospital the doctors run some genetic screening tests and discover you have factor 5 leiden. A common blood clotting disorder. The babies could have been saved if you were on blood thinners, they say. Next time we’ll put you on blood thinners at the start of the pregnancy. But you are broken, and know there won’t be a next time.


Aside from balanced translocation disorder the other four tests are considered somewhat controversial which means that you as the paying patient may have to advocate for yourself to get the tests ordered. There is no clear answer as to why every REI doesn’t test for them. Each set their own protocol and some will tell you it’s unnecessary and sometimes invasive to perform these additional tests.
The fourth test I recommend having done prior to your first IVF is an extended thyroid panel (even if you're in the “normal” range) which includes not only TSH, TPO antibodies, Thyroglobulin antibodies, free t4, free t3, and ferritin. This will give you a better picture of your overall thyroid health. I also recommend to all my clients to find a previous thyroid level test to compare what their “normal” is to where they currently are. Ferritin stores are very important to pregnancy and are not part of routine testing.

The final test to protect your IVF investment is a blood test for natural killer cells. If the blood test comes back positive your doctor may perform a uterine biopsy.

These real life stories (some taken from Infertility Success, Stories of Help and Hope) might have turned out differently with testing for these conditions at the beginning of the infertility journey or after miscarriage loss. So many women assume (just like these women did) that their doctor/REI will test them for absolutely everything. However, as you can see from these stories, it’s simply NOT the case. Remember, just because a doctor tells you that they can’t help you doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant


 
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