What to avoid and why.
Cigarettes & Tobacco
Smoking affects the quality of sperm and can inhibit fertility. It interferes with absorption of essential nutrients and has been linked to ectopic pregnancy, critical illnesses at birth and an increased risk of miscarriage. Research indicates that smoking around a pregnant woman affects the developing baby’s growth and causes low birthweight. Smoking in the presence of a newborn can cause chest infections and asthma and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The drinking habits of the male are often overlooked yet it is known that alcohol damages sperm. In heavy drinkers, sperm often lack normal tails adversely affecting the mobility of the sperm. Alcohol is known to affect testosterone levels and has been linked to loss of sperm cells, an increase in abnormal sperm and male impotence.
Marijuana is known to interfere with normal sperm production and harder drugs can damage chromosomes in sperm and cause birth abnormalities. Ideally both parents should avoid taking drugs in the six months before conceiving. Social drugs interfere with absorption of some essential nutrients. Alcohol is known to cause a loss of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium.
The pregnant mother should avoid recreational drugs throughout pregnancy and during breastfeeding as these are known to cross the placenta and can be passed through breast milk.
Caffeine is believed to affect sperm mobility and to inhibit the absorption of important nutrients such as iron. Decaffeinated coffee is generally not recommended due to the chemicals used in the decaffeinating process.
Toxic trace elements include lead, cadmium and mercury.