Health and Environment

Physical and psychological health may affect fertility and pregnancy in many ways. For people with chronic disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy and thyroid disorders, a reproductive life plan is of extra importance, since both the disorder and treatment may affect fertility and pregnancy.

Chemicals, radiation and other environmental factors may affect fertility, the risk of miscarriage and fetal development. Organic solvents, heavy metals, pesticides or different kinds of radiation may result in miscarriage and increase the risk of birth defects. Women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant are advised not to work with or have leisure activities that would entail exposure to organic solvents.  For heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, certain radiation (UV light and X-ray) and certain industrial chemicals, the Swedish Work Environment Authority has set limits, among other things, because of the risk of birth defects.

Medications may have a harmful effect on fetal development. Certain painkillers (NSAID drugs) that some take for menstrual cramps may increase the risk of miscarriage and congenital heart defects.

Performance enhancing drugs may result in disturbances in the menstrual cycle, impair sperm function and result in erectile dysfunction. The effects of performance enhancing drugs may remain for several years, especially for women where the long-term risks for infertility appear to be greater than for men.

Take a look at what substances you are exposed to and that could possibly be harmful in connection with pregnancy. Consult your doctor or midwife if you are not sure about the medications you are taking. Never stop taking prescription medication before first consulting with your doctor.

Do you want to know more about chemicals and environmental factors that may affect both fertility and fetal development? Read more at arbetsmiljö

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