A pregnant mama’s guide to non-toxic living
Most mothers-to-be understand that it is important to stay healthy during pregnancy. This, however, goes beyond just eating healthy and doing exercise.
The average baby is born with over 200 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood. Essentially, our babies are born pre-polluted. How? It’s us, the moms, who unknowingly expose our unborn children to these chemicals – but it is also us who have the power to protect our unborn children from these toxic chemicals.
Everything you expose yourself too, ultimately, your developing baby will also be exposed to; this includes the air you breathe, the food you eat, and even the products you use every day. Your unborn child is especially vulnerable to toxins. In fact, an increasing number of studies show links between exposure to certain common chemicals during pregnancy to everything from preterm births and higher cancer risk, to birth defects and childhood behavioral problems.
So, what is a pregnant mom to do?
- CLEAN EATING
- Eat organic. High levels of pesticides have been associated with developmental delays and lower IQ. When possible choose organic produce, protein and dairy products.
- Choose glass over plastic. Never reheat food in plastic containers since these can leach hormone disrupting chemicals into your food. Opt for glass containers.
- Stop cooking with Teflon coated non-stick pans. Teflon releases perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) when exposed to high heat. PFOA is linked to developmental harm and cancer. Cook with cast iron or stainless steel pans.
- CLEAN HOME
- Pregnancy is the time to stop using conventional cleaning products. Certain chemicals in cleaning products are linked to reduced fertility, birth defects and asthma. Even if someone else is cleaning your home, the fumes from conventional cleaners can linger for days. Consider making your own cleaning solution (a 50% vinegar and 50% water mixture in a spray bottle makes a safe all-purpose cleaner). Alternately, if you prefer store-bought cleaners, The Tot has some fantastic non-toxic cleaning options in their shop.
- Be careful with dry cleaning. That sweet smell that comes from dry cleaned clothes is a chemical called PERC. PERC is considered as a top chemical linked to breast cancer. What to do? Look for an organic dry cleaner and ask if they use PERC (some cleaners claim to be organic and still use the chemical). When this is not an option, reduce your dry cleaning and air out the clothes before hanging in your closet or wearing them.
- Stop using air fresheners. Instead, open the windows. Most air fresheners contain fragrance chemicals that mimic hormones and affect the reproductive system of unborn babies.
- CLEAN BODY
60% of what you apply on your body gets absorbed and goes into your bloodstream, eventually making its way to your developing baby. Ingredients to avoid include: fragrance/ parfum, chemicals ending in -paraben, retinol/vitamin A, oxybenzone, sodium laureth sulfate, chemicals ending in -phthalates, aluminum in antiperspirants, amongst others.
In the US, cosmetic companies do not have to disclose their ingredients (many of which have never been reviewed for safety), so it is best to:
- Use less. Streamline your daily beauty routine and use only what you need when it comes to makeup, showering, and before bedtime.
- Switch to safer products. Consider trying some non-toxic cosmetic and beauty care products. Chances are you won’t go back to the toxic stuff once you find a ‘clean’ product you really love!
- Wash your hands frequently, but not with antibacterial soap or hand sanitizing gels. Many of these contain triclosan – a hormone disruptor that accumulates in our body, and has been found in breast milk. It is no more effective at removing germs or preventing illness than plain soap and water, so opt for a natural soap instead.
Shop the non-toxic pregnancy-safe product guide
- Thinksport Sunscreen Stick SPF 30: Mothers-to-be should continue using daily sunscreen. Make sure to avoid Oxybenzone, Retinyl palmitate and parabens and fragrance. Thinksport Sunscreen Stick meets all the safety requirements and in addition comes in an easy to apply stick format.
- Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil: Pregnancy hormones can do crazy things to your skin, but this certified organic argan oil can help to balance your skin. It contains powerful antioxidants, high concentrations of nutrients and Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, without the added cocktail of harmful chemicals.
- Dr. Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser: Facial Cleansers often contain the foaming chemical sodium lauryl sulfate which can be very irritating, especially for sensitive pregnancy skin. Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser contains no SLS, nor fragrance or parabens. All Dr. Alkaitis’ products are raw, meaning they are never heated above body temperature, allowing the ingredients to give full therapeutic benefits to your skin.
- Erbaviva Stretch Mark Oil: Every growing belly (and breasts and thighs!) needs a good oil to help prevent those dreaded stretch marks. Stretch mark cream ingredients to avoid include Dimethylethanolamine (DMAE) which has adverse effects on embryo development as well as fragrance, parabens and phthalates. Erbaviva Stretch Mark Oil is made using organic essential oils and smells heavenly!
- MOLLY’S SUDS Laundry Powder: Laundry detergent is often filled with toxic chemicals that promise to ‘get that stain out’. However, clothes can be cleaned without these added toxic chemicals. Case in point: Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder. It is also safe for sensitive skin, which means you can continue using it once baby is born.
- MOLLY’S SUDS 100% Wool Dryer Balls: Conventional fabric softener and drying sheets can contain endocrine disrupting chemicals and chemicals known to cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy people – switch to a safer alternative and use wool dryer balls instead!
- Better Life – Hand & Body Soap – Unscented: Better Life’s Hand & Body Soap is non-toxic, biodegradable, and derived from plant-based ingredients that are kind to waterways and safe for marine life, so you can feel good inside and out.
- Better Life – All Purpose Cleaner – Unscented: Better Life’s All Purpose Cleaner is a simple spray and wipe cleaner that tackles everything from scuffs on walls to grease on your stove, while remaining gentle to the environment and your skin. It’s safe and effective for use on all surfaces including your tot’s toys and play areas.
- Wean Green – Kitchen Starter Set: Wean Green’s Kitchen Set is ideal for leftovers, batch cooking, lunches, condiments, the options are endless. They are made from 100% recycled glass and are BPA, PVC & phthalate-free.