As the Christmas season arrives it is easy to include alcohol, smoking, caffeine and negative thoughts into our lives. No surprises I drew Creation Fertility Guidance Card 33. Dump the Addictions this week.
Throughout the fertility journey it is so important to remain mindful about social addictions. There is increasing evidence relating to the effects caffeine, alcohol and smoking on fertility so let’s discuss it a little more.
Addictions come in many shapes and sizes! If you have a strong addiction obviously we recommend you receive professional support but you can also consider integrating a course of complementary therapies or a Fertility MOT to help restore normal brain chemistry and increase your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
4 reasons to dump the addictions to support your fertility :
- Alcohol: Whilst an “accepted social toxin” it is teratogenic. During pregnancy alcohol crosses the placental barrier. Did you know the level of the alcohol consumed by your unborn child will be approximately the same as the mother. From a nutritional standpoint alcohol interferes with nutritional absorption including depleting zinc, potassium, magnesium and folic acid. All important fertility nutrients. A colleague has written an excellent article explaining how even casual drinking can reduce conceptual health. I suggest you read her article- The Effects of Alcohol on Fertility: http://stepstorecovery.com/effects-alcohol-fertility/
- Smoking (I include vaping here too). Women who smoke or who are exposed to other people’s smoke take longer to get pregnant. Passive smoking (inhaling someone else’s smoke) is only slightly less harmful to fertility than active smoking. Smoking affects each stage of the reproductive process, including egg and sperm maturation, hormone production, embryo transport, and the environment in the uterus. It can also damage DNA in both eggs and sperm. Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of pregnancy complications, low birth weight, birth defects and can affect the development of a female foetus’ ovaries. WOW! It also increases the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage increases with the amount smoked (1% increase in risk per cigarette smoked per day). Did you know that women who smoke reach menopause almost two years earlier than non-smokers and women who are exposed to second-hand smoke reach menopause more than a year earlier?
- Caffeine: Commonly found in coffee, tea, carbonated soft drinks and chocolate there is evidence that daily consumption affects conceptual health by altering hormone levels. A study by Willcox et al found that women who drank less than one cup of coffee were twice as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as moderate coffee drinkers.
- Mindset: Yes I consider negative thoughts as an addiction. It takes time and effort to change your mindset! Just as physical addictions like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and smoking can contribute to reproductive problems, so can emotional stress. Research over the past 20 years has shown an increasing relationship between negative thought patterns and fertility problems. Minerva Ginecologica (2005), suggests that emotional stress can cause severe upheaval in a woman’s reproductive cycle. Women with fertility problems were found to have very high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bloodstream. This is the same hormone that has been found to shut down ovulation in female athletes. The same study also discovered that more than 5% of all women experienced disruptions in the menstrual cycles merely because of emotional stress. This can make conception difficult or even impossible for some couples.
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): This is a serious condition which can lead to abnormalities such as underweight and under length at birth, slow growth and failure to thrive after birth. It can affect the baby’s ability to suckle, disrupt sleep/wake patterns, and affect balance, motor control, visual recognition, memory, and mental development. Babies can be born with an unusually small head, joint and limb abnormalities, possible mental retardation and /or behavioural issues including hyperactivity and extreme nervousness. During school these children have also been found to be negatively related to co-operation, retention of information, comprehension of words, impulsiveness, tactfulness, word recall, organisation as well as attention skills. If this isn’t enough on maturation and adulthood children born to social drinkers continue to present subtle alcohol related decrements such as attention, memory and learning difficulties and a genetic likelihood of becoming a future alcoholic.
Alcohol and Male Reproduction: Alcohol causes loss of sperm cells, atrophy of the penis and semen tubules, increases the ratio of abnormal sperm, significantly decreases sperm concentration, output and motility and in some cases leads to sterility and impotence.
For more information on this and the other social toxins including smoking, caffeine, recreational and street drugs please read The Creation Fertility Guide to Dumping The Addictions
or download Supporting Sperm Health