I was wondering if you have any tips on avoiding environmental toxins during pregnancy?
Michellina, Charlotte NC
For an expectant mother, the health and wellness of her unborn baby is her primary concern. A woman's body is amazingly adept at creating a strong barrier between the developing fetus and many of the dangerous toxins that she is exposed to in her surrounding environment. Unfortunately, there are a number of environmental toxins that can have a negative effect on the health of an unborn child. Mom-to-be can help to prevent these toxins from reaching her baby by reducing her own exposure.
First things first...you have to learn which toxins present the greatest danger during pregnancy. Pesticides, paint fumes, aerosol products, cleaning sprays...these are all toxins that can potentially cross the placenta and harm your developing baby.
Go on a toxin hunt throughout your home. Look in the garage, basement, closets and laundry rooms for hidden sources of toxins. Get rid of any products with labels that read "toxic," and any products that contain flame retardants. These are all potential dangers to an unborn child. Try to rid your home of these chemicals even before you get pregnant if you are actively trying to conceive. If you are already pregnant, don't handle the products yourself, instead, have a friend or partner dispose of them for you. Leave the windows open so that the chemical residue can air out.
Be on the lookout for harmful fumes, strong odors and dangerous ingredients that are found in paint, laundry detergent, fabric softeners and cleaning products.
Stay far away from any chemical pesticides. If you are accidentally exposed to them, immediately wash the area with soap and water to remove any chemical residue.
Refrain from using any pesticides in your yard or home throughout your pregnancy. Any time insecticides and pesticides are used, there is a danger that some of the chemicals may become airborne. Once in the air, they can be inhaled by pregnant women. When out in public, be on the lookout for signs that say pesticides were recently used.
Pregnant women should not be involved in the painting process when decorating the nursery. The chemicals found in paints and paint thinners are extremely noxious. VOC-free paints are a safe alternative to traditional, toxic paints.
Never use powerful cleaning agents during pregnancy. Cleaners such as bleach or ammonia, or those that emit powerful odors, such as scrubbing powders and bathroom cleansers, should be avoided. Replacing toxic cleaners with all-natural cleaning products reduces your exposure to harmful toxins, and is an excellent step in preparing to raise children in your home.
Contact your city's water purification headquarters. Tap water sometimes contains high levels of lead, which can have a negative effect on a growing fetus. Many pregnant women opt for purified water or bottled water during their pregnancy. Your baby can be exposed to toxic levels of lead if you eat your food off a lead-lined dish. Eat only from plates that contain no lead.
A good rule of thumb is listen to your nose during pregnancy. A pregnant woman's sense of smell is often heightened during pregnancy. If something irritates your nose or just smells off, chances are it is nature's way of telling you to stay away.
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