Even when we don't foresee ourselves having kids for a while, it's natural to wonder about our fertility. Through a young adulthood of testing out different birth control methods, undergoing pregnancy scares (or just general paranoia), and reading about all the things in our environment threatening our fertility—every woman gets curious about whether she can have kids, whether or not she wants them.
Fertility expert and acupuncturist Angela Le shared with Mind Body Green the top habits to stop now if you want to get pregnant (eventually). Usually, by the time planning for a little one rolls around, we've already established the habits that are directly contributing to our fertility health. Breaking these fertility-threatening habits will also better your health as a whole, so Le's advice is worth following even if babies aren't necessarily in your future.
Artificial light and lack of sleep: We can't begin to list all the ways that a lack of sleep negatively impacts our health. Prioritizing quality sleep and committing to a restful and rejuvenating nightly ritual can improve your fertility by lowering your stress levels, says Le. Keeping our screen time to a minimum, especially before bed, can greatly improve how well we rest once we shut our eyes. Keep electronics out of the bedroom, and say hello to a better night's sleep.
Vitamin D and sunshine: Le notes that research has found that vitamin D is essential to both women and men trying to conceive. You can have your vitamin D levels tested by a doctor, but spending regular time outdoors, even for brief walks or weekend activities, will help you absorb the vitamin and increase your fertility.
Phthalate and plastic exposure: Cutting out plastics from your life might be impossible, but the more you can avoid them–especially for materials related to consumption (like water bottles or food storage containers)—the better for your fertility. Le says "these endocrine disruptors can affect your body's natural ability to regulate your reproductive system." So as much as possible, swap out plastics for glass bottles and jars and reusable cloth bags.
If you're not quite ready for pregnancy just yet, here's everything you need to know about getting an IUD.