Do you remember the moment you first learned you were pregnant? After the shock and awe period passes, pregnancy is the perfect time to commit to eliminating toxic chemicals from your food, home and personal care products.
Making your daily routines as healthy as possible during pregnancy will make you feel better and will go a long way toward protecting your unborn child from toxic chemicals like BPA, mercury, phthalates and more, all of which have been found in the bodies of pregnant women. Clearing out chemicals from your daily routines now is good practice for creating a healthy home environment for your newborn baby, who will be particularly vulnerable to harmful chemicals found in everyday products.
Over the years, Healthy Child has gathered some excellent pregnancy advice from our experts and friends. Consider these tips for a greener, healthier pregnancy:
A recent scientific study showed a pregnant woman's exposure to pesticides posed risks to a developing fetus similar to those associated with smoking tobacco. Learn all about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 before heading to the grocery stores. Navigate the aisles for the cleanest, greenest fruits and vegetables grown without toxic chemicals.
Watch your intake of animal fats
Toxic chemicals like dioxin PCBs and pesticides accumulate in fat, which means that when you eat certain fish or meat, you transfer those chemicals into your body. Look for low-fat options, trim the fat from fish and meats and eat organic meat and wild seafood whenever possible.
Be smart about plastics
Plastics seem benign but they can harm health, especially the health of developing fetuses. Vinyl plastic is everywhere, despite its composition of a carcinogenic core and dangerous additives, like phthalates, to make it soft. Avoiding vinyl is a good rule of thumb, whether it means ditching the plastic shower curtain and cling wraps or choosing non-vinyl building materials for your home.
Another plastic to avoid is the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in some water bottles, cash register receipts and canned foods. To limit your exposure to BPA, say "no" to receipts, carry glass or stainless steel bottles and eat fresh or frozen foods.
Ditch the toxic cleaners
Bombarding your counters, tubs and floors with toxic chemicals doesn't make them cleaner, but it does cover them with nasty chemicals. Why do that? Stay away from products with warnings like "hazardous," "poison," and "danger." Instead, choose cleaners made without harmful chemicals that come certified as eco-friendly. It's also easy to make your own cleaners, which will save you money and a trip to the store.
Choose safer cosmetics
Do you know how many personal care products you use on your body every day? It's likely to be ten products, containing as many as 126 unique chemicals according to the Environmental Working Group. Those lotions, creams, shampoos, soaps, lip balms and more may contain chemicals that threaten to disrupt your baby's development.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to start a new personal care regime with safer products. Read labels to avoid harmful chemicals like phthalates, parabens and triclosan. And check out the Skin Deep database or Healthy Child Healthy World's Trusted Partner list to shop healthy.
Take note: this advice is not just for women! Men are a critically important, though frequently overlooked, pregnancy partner. There's no doubt that it's better for the whole family if men reduce their toxic exposures before and during their partner's pregnancy.
Did pregnancy inspire you to eliminate toxic chemicals from your daily routine?
HuffPost Parents offers a daily dose of personal stories, helpful advice and comedic takes on what it’s like to raise kids today. Learn more