Every pre-pregnancy checklist will always include pre-natal vitamins, a GP check up and maybe even a dental check up…

But what very few of them include (in fact I would go so far as to say none of them!) is to limit your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

What on earth are endocrine disrupting chemicals I hear you say?  Well, they are a particular group of chemicals known to interrupt how your hormones work.

To understand the real implications of Endocrine Disrupting Chemical exposures, we need to understand a little bit more about hormones.

When we talk about hormones, most people will automatically go to oestrogen, progesterone and probably testosterone… but what about melatonin? Insulin? Serotonin? Dopamine, cortisol and adrenalin – these are all hormones too…

Our hormones are the little message carriers in our endocrine system – which is, very simply speaking, the messenger superhighway in our bodies.  Our endocrine system carries messages about quite literally everything we do – tummy grumbling hungry? That’s a hormone message, heart racing scared, that’s a hormones message, sensitive breasts around ovulation time – that’s a hormone too!  In-fact, it’s oestrogen which is made in your ovaries by the tiny eggs that are growing there, and it’s signalling your body that it’s almost time to be getting a sperm delivery so that the egg can meet it’s perfect match and make a baby.

Our hormones all have very important functions in the body, helping to regulate our core body temperature, how we digest food, when we sleep and when we wake up – quite literally every single bodily function is controlled by hormones.

Including ovulation – the process where a women’s body releases an egg ready to meet a sperm and fertilise and become an embryo and then hopefully a baby.

Our hormones work like a lock and a key – the hormone is the key, floating about in your blood stream looking for a lock.  The organ that needs the message from that particular hormone will have lots of ‘locks’ for that particular hormone to fit into so when there is plenty of that hormone around, the locks fill up and the organ receives the message and does whatever it needs to do.

The trouble is, these endocrine disrupting chemicals do exactly that – they DISRUPT how this finely balanced system works.  BPA for example, is an oestrogen mimicker…

Most of us have heard of BPA,  anything we buy that is made from plastic will carry a label saying that it is ‘BPA-Free’ which is great! Most of us will look at that and go ‘great – whatever BPA is.. I’m glad this is free from that…’

Except of course that when they haven’t used BPA when making the plastic, they have most likely used BPS or BPF instead, which are actually just as bad (we just haven’t legislated against those yet)

BPA is an oestrogen mimicker.  This means that it looks exactly the same as oestrogen, and it fits into the locks for oestrogen… blocking them so that oestrogen has no-where to go.  Now there are thousands and millions of these locks, oestrogen can still act.. but not the way it wants to…

And BPA doesn’t carry a message with it either.. it just sits there like the lump of plastic that it is, making a nuisance of itself.

BPA is just one of thousands of EDCs that have been identified world-wide.  They are everywhere – it’s actually impossible to avoid them

But it is possible to significantly reduce your exposure to some of them at least.

So here’s my list of things to check off when you’ve made the decision to start trying to build your family:

  • Get a prenatal check-up and screening with your GP – this is important to look for conditions you don’t want to discover once you’re actually pregnant. Things like checking your rubella immunity, making sure your cervical screening is up to date and you are up to date with all of your vaccinations
  • Get a Dental check up – there are some dental procedures that can’t be done when you’re pregnant, and pregnancy can be hard on your dental health – so make sure you get everything checked before you get pregnant
  • Nutrition check-in – there is so much evidence these days that the nutrition of both the egg provider and the sperm provider in the 90 – 120 days before conception can have significant impacts on the health of the resulting child. Make sure that your pre-pregnancy nutrition is really nourishing those eggs and sperm – the raw materials that you’re going to be building your baby from
  • Knowledge – highschool sex-ed was really not enough when it comes to understanding how to actually get pregnant. Plenty of information about how NOT to – leading most people to believe that as soon as you stop your birth control, you’ll be pregnant in a matter of weeks, but that is very rarely the case.  Conception takes time – and that’s completely normal.  Arm yourself with the knowledge of when your most fertile time is (hint: it’s not when most people think!)
  • If you’ve been trying to conceive for 6 months or more – its time to consider asking for some help and guidance – and NO that doesn’t mean IVF! There are LOTS of things to do before you get to IVF, so reach out to someone who can guide and support you through pre-conception and help with knowing where to turn and when


If you are looking for more support and guidance through pre-conception, Lucy is a fully qualified and clinically experienced embryologist, now working privately to guide and support women and couples who are trying to conceive.

As a fully trained and clinically experienced embryologist I have had the good fortune to travel the world practicing my craft in IVF labs in Australia, Sweden, Ireland and the UK.

Over my first 17 years in the fertility ‘industry’ I became increasingly frustrated over the ‘business’ aspect that was creeping in to the large IVF companies and the huge gaps that was creating for patients accessing those services.

After a redundancy at 37 weeks pregnant, (and at 44 years of age) I saw an opportunity to fill those gaps – with education, care, support, guidance and space for women and couples experiencing difficulties with their fertility – totally independent of the big businesses!

I now offer my services through Two Lines Fertility – with my signature program, IVF WTF, my website and blog, e-courses and, of course, 1:1 support, I now help women and couples feel empowered, and more importantly EDUCATED and in control of their fertility, whether they are right at the beginning of considering growing their families, in the depths of IVF treatment, or anywhere in between.