Sexual health expert Dr. Laura Berman discusses new findings that show the insidious impact of lead on reproductive health
Lead pollution in Flint, Michigan has caused fetal deaths to increase by as much as 50%. Now, new research from Carnegie Mellon University has found that airborne lead exposure has lowered the general fertility rate in recent years.
“For years, the link between lead exposure and fertility has been researched,” says Dr. Laura Berman, sexual health expert and television host. “We now know that exposure to lead, even airborne exposure via topsoil, can harm our reproductive abilities.”
Dr. Berman says that concerned couples can take several steps to safeguard their fertility, including having their home tested for lead and using water filters to help remove lead from drinking water.
“But, beware, not all water filters are created equal,” says the sexual health expert and New York Times bestselling author. “For example, refrigerator water filter units generally do not have the capability to remove lead from water.”
In addition to limiting your exposure to harmful lead, Dr. Laura Berman advises hopeful couples to also consider other lifestyle choices which could be impacting your ability to become pregnant, including:
- Ibuprofen. “Many men think nothing of grabbing a handful of ibuprofen whenever they have muscle aches after the gym or they are battling a headache,” says Dr. Berman. “However, a brand-new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that men who take ibuprofen on a regular basis could suffer from hypogonadism, which is a hormonal condition that could cause infertility in men.”
- Low iodine. “By now, most women know that being a healthy weight is an important factor when it comes to getting pregnant. Hence, these women tend to focus on the calories and carbs they consume, and the number on the scale. But a new study suggests that these women need to be focused on the amount of iodine they are eating as well.Women who are low in iodine have HALF the chance of conceiving as women who have a healthy level of iodine.”
- The wrong lubricant. “Couples know that they need to enjoy lots of love-making in order to increase their chance of conception, but when it comes to making babies, not all lubricants are created equal,” explains Dr. Berman. “There is only one lubricant on the market which has an FDA-cleared formula and is recommended for fertility enhancement, and that is ToConcieve.”
ToConcieve was created by ob-gyns in conjunction with Callitas Health Inc. The fertility enhancing gel is unlike any other fertility product on the market in that it actually encourages the woman’s body to create more of her own lubricant, which in turn may increase the activation of sperm and the woman’s chances of pregnancy. Unlike every other lubricant on the market, ToConceive doesn’t just add chemical lubricants to a woman’s body, it actually encourages her to make more of her own natural lubricant which not only adds to her pleasure, but also may improve her chances of natural conception.
“This ground-breaking product is going to change the way that couples approach their fertility journey,” says Dr. Berman. “Now they have something over the counter that they can use before they have to spend the time and money on interventions at the doctor’s office.”
- Too much red meat. “A new Greek study has found that women who eat a Mediterranean diet are more likely to be successful on their IVF journey than women who do not. In other words, eating a plant-based diet with lots of healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocados) and lean protein like fish could help you to become pregnant.”
- Air pollution and pesticides. “Shocking research has revealed that pollution in the air could actually lead to poorer quality of sperm and hence higher levels of infertility for many couples,” says Dr. Berman. “Other research has linked a high consumption of pesticides with a woman’s inability to become pregnant. These findings are good reminders that we need to eat clean and breathe clean if we want to have optimal fertility.
About Dr. Laura Berman:
Laura Berman, PhD, is a world-renowned sex and relationship educator and therapist; popular TV, radio and Internet host; New York Times best-selling author; and assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. Considered a thought leader in her field, Dr. Berman has helped countless couples build stronger relationships, improve their sex lives, and achieve a heightened level of intimacy through her TV and radio shows, books, columns and website, along with her private practice based in Chicago. Dr. Berman is a New York Times best-selling author of many books on sexual health and pleasure, a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, and host of the radio program “Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman.” She has appeared on Fox News, CNN and the TODAY Show, as well as in The New York Times, USA Today, and every major woman’s magazine. Dr. Berman serves on the advisory board for The Dr. Oz Show and is a regular guest on The Steve Harvey Show.