Tips for protecting your baby from environmental toxins during pregnancy
A child’s most critical development occurs while in the womb. This is a time when a mother must take proactive steps against harmful toxins. The first step is being aware of where they exist and how to avoid them. Follow these tips for a healthier
Food and food preparation:
Fish is some of the healthiest food you can eat but it’s important to choose wisely and ALWAYS cook your fish. Avoid King mackerel, Marlin, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish, Tuna, Striped wild bass, Alewife, Bluefish, Sturgeon or weakfish. Choose fish lower in mercury like Wild salmon, Sardines, Atlantic herring, Dungeness crab, Pacific cod, Tilapia, Catfish, Clams, Mussels, Shrimp and Pacific oysters. Most farm raised fish contains high levels of PCB’s.
Eat organic food as much as possible, especially when choosing foods found to be most contaminated with pesticides: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. These are known as the dirty dozen.
Remember to carefully wash all fruits and veggies.
Avoid canned foods as much as possible. The lining in cans leaches bisphenol A (BPA) it is an endocrine disruptor that can lead to high blood sugar and hormonal imbalances. There are some organic brands that are BPA-free but you must check the label to be sure.
Choose organic animal products. Chemicals and toxins accumulate in fat tissue, therefore your meat and dairy products are best when labeled organic. Animal fats are part of a healthy pregnancy diet so look for organic products when possible.
Avoid raw meat, fish and milk products, they may contain a bacteria called listeria which is potentially very harmful to you and your baby during pregnancy. Check labels on soft cheeses to make sure it does not contain raw milk.
Check the CDC’s website for complete listeria safety guidelines.
Drink filtered water in glass or stainless steel containers. Have at least 64oz of clean water daily. Your urine should always be clear and very light in color. Water helps flush toxins from the body.
When reheating food in a microwave use glass or ceramic containers in order to avoid leaching plastic into your food.
Avoid non-stick or teflon-coated cookware which may release toxic compounds into food. Choose stainless steel, glass, cast iron or ceramic cookware.
Avoid microwave popcorn. The inside of the bags are coated with toxic chemicals that can leach into the popcorn.
Fast food containers are often lined with teflon chemicals and should be avoided.
Clean with hot soapy water after handling raw meat and eggs. Keep these things cold until ready to use and refrigerate leftovers promptly to avoid food poisoning.
Choose fragrance free personal care products and consider giving up perfumes, nail polish, and hair dye which may contain toxic chemicals which are absorbed through the skin.
Choose cosmetics and personal care products from companies that are committed to safer, non-toxic products.
Avoid antibacterial soaps which over time can lead to germs that are harder to kill. Plain soap and very warm water are effective cleaning agents.
Avoid bug killers, weed killers, and other pesticides in the home and garden. Focus on preventative techniques and learn about non-toxic pest control.
Try green cleaning agents like liquid soap, baking soda and vinegar or look for green brands like seventh generation.
Leave shoes at the front door. Toxic waste travels into your home on the bottom of your shoes.
If you must paint (most families expecting a new baby want to!) consider using low VOC wall paints and opening windows for good ventilation. Consider leaving your home for several days for major painting jobs and all oil based painting projects.
If you live in a home built before 1978 in may contain lead paint. Do not attempt to remove lead paint yourself and avoid old paint chips and the soil around the perimeter of the home which could be contaminated with lead paint dust.
Make sure your older home does not have old lead pipes which could contaminate your water.
Compiled by Kim James, CPM 2016