Giving a gift that's useful, beautiful and desired all in one (and which makes the recipient beam with happiness) has got to be one of the greatest joys of the holiday season.
That can be tough to do if your sister, friend, colleague, girlfriend or wife is preparing for fertility treatment or conception in the new year. To help everyone win this holiday season, we've come up with some ideas for things a woman in your life will love - all of which get our Fertility Fit™ healthy lifestyle seal of approval!
Guidelines for buying fertility-friendly gifts:
Chemicals in common beauty and bathroom products have been linked to sub-fertility, infertility, hormone imbalances, menstrual cycle disruptions and even early menopause: surprise her with non-toxic alternatives.
Moderate exercise (a few times a week) not only protects against a host of diseases, but is linked to better reproductive outcomes. Everyone loves new workout kit for extra motivation.
Sleep is a hormonal process and disrupted sleep cycles can cause menstrual disturbances - let her thank you day after day for picking out a product that promotes a good night's sleep.
Help her avoid plastic water bottles and impurities in tap water, both of which have been linked to poor fertility outcomes, with some key purifying products...
Fertility treatment can be stressful. Show your support by giving her something that can help alleviate stress.
1. A Brand New Journal for 2020
- Gratitude journaling is scientifically proven to help curate happiness -
While the link between stress and fertility is still not entirely understood, it's thought that chronic stress can contribute to hormone imbalances and trigger a whole host of negative physical effects that can impact reproductive health.
An easy way to begin de-stressing through journaling is to write down one daily "gratitude" or good experience from the past 24 hours. It's thought that doing this conditions you into scanning the world for the positive and retrains your brain into having a more optimistic outlook, with systemic benefits like lowering cortisol (a "stress hormone"). Bonus: daily gratitude journaling is also linked to increased productivity.
Watch former Harvard lecturer Shawn Achor's brilliant TEDx talk on the topic.
2. Some Shiny New Active Wear
- Moderate exercise three times per week is just what the doctor ordered -
It's offical: NOTHING makes you feel more like working out than brand spanking new activewear that you can't wait to put on!
Anything that gets you away from the TV and onto the tarmac gets a big tick from fertility doctors, as not only is regular exercise beneficial in reducing your likelihood of diseases, people who exercise have better reproductive health and fertility outcomes than couch potatoes.
In fact, comparative studies have found that physical activity may be as effective as other commonly used clinical intervention strategies for improving reproductive health outcomes. Regardless of a woman's weight, studies have linked moderate physical activity several times a week to an easier time getting pregnant.
This comes with a caveat, though: over-exercising by getting into vigorous or intensive sweat sessions more than four days a week, or entering a calorie deficit (where you're not eating enough for the level of exercise you're doing) has been shown to have the opposite impact and may even affect egg maturation and ovulation. The advice is to get sweaty several times a week, but not to overdo it.
SummerSalt: The Sun Shield Legging View on SummerSalt
3. Gorgeous Non-Toxic Beauty Products
- Organic, zero-chemical natural products still pack a punch -
Parabens, phthalates and other chemicals that are commonly found in mainstream personal care products are classed as "endocrine disrupting chemicals" (EDCs).
Studies have shown that exposure to these substances can result in subfertility, infertility, hormone imbalances, menstrual cycle disruptions and even early menopause.
Researchers now know that EDCs exert toxicity by interfering with the normal hormonal homeostatic mechanisms that promote growth and development of tissues. The chemicals mimic your body's natural hormones, and so can interfere with hormones binding to their corresponding receptor (notably estrogen). This can trigger all kinds of unwanted responses in your body's delicately balanced hormonal system. EDCs also act on enzymes involved in making steroids and the metabolism of hormones.
Many common perfumes, make-up, moisturizers, bath and shower products, even deodorants contain these products, but thankfully an increasing number of brands are bringing out great "clean" products that nix the nasties. Your well-woman will love knowing she can look great, smell great and be beautifully turned out without compromising her reproductive health.
Body & Hand Wash Real Luxury by NEOM View on Amazon
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara (Black), Volumizing Nutrient-Rich, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Certified Organic Ingredients, Paraben Free, Mineral, No Chemical View on Amazon
4. A Better Night's Sleep
- Hormones are interlinked, so sleep can impact fertility -
Sleep is a hormonal process, meaning when you have too little of it, or not enough good quality hours of it, there can be a cascading effect on your body's other hormonal processes: including reproduction.
There aren't a huge amount of studies that have looked at the direct impact of sleep on fertility, but researchers think that activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is known to play a role in sleep disturbance, may interfere with reproduction.
Give the gift of a great night's sleep with a thoughtful sleep mask, lightbox alarm clock, luxurious new sleepwear, lavender oil or even a gift subscription to a meditation app.
Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask, Blindfold, Super Smooth Eye Mask (One Strap) View on Amazon
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Colored Sunrise Simulation and Sunset Fading Night Light View on Amazon
5. Cleaner, Purer Water
- Keep the H2O, eliminate the nasties -
Not only are most public water sources filled with chemicals like chlorine, the plastic filters we use to try to purify it are themselves a potential source of problems: plastics like BPA (though not just BPA) are also endocrine disruptors.
Research shows that drinking chlorinated water is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth
and in women undergoing IVF, those with the top 25% body load of BPA levels in their bodies were 211% more likely to have implantation failure.
"While much of the decrease in fertility worldwide is by choice, an increasing number of couples, especially in industrialized countries, are finding conception more difficult and damaged babies more common. The research is quite clear that metals and chemicals in air, water, food, and health-and-beauty aids are damaging fertility in many ways." - Joseph Pizzorno, editor-in-chief of Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal
The best and simplest way to purify tap water at home is the old fashioned Japanese method: using activated CHARCOAL! This is actually surprisingly easy: just place the charcoal into a glass jug, fill with tap water and it'll work its magic.
The activated charcoal attracts ions of contaminants to the surface of the carbon, at the same time as releasing minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium back into the water.
If you're on the go, pour it into a non-plastic water bottle and you're ready to roll...
Veegoal Dishwasher Safe 18 Oz Borosilicate Glass Water Bottle with Bamboo Lid and Protective Sleeve-Bpa Free View on Amazon
Cheeky Bonus Idea:
For a childfree woman interested in learning more about her reproductive system and her options, we think our book Everything Egg Freezing makes the perfect pressie!
Exercise and fertility:
EDCs and fertility:
Sleep and fertility: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125064/
Drinking water and fertility: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396757/