I'm eight months pregnant with my second child, and all of the clichés about how different the prenatal period is the second time around have been spot-on. For instance, I barely remember which week of pregnancy I'm in, I've not yet taken any baby clothes/blankets out of storage (let alone bought anything new for the little guy), and I have no idea where the ultrasound pictures have ended up (with the exception of the one that had to be fished out of the garbage after 3-year-old Felix crumpled it up and said he wanted to throw his baby brother away -- I'm told that this is also typical and not a harbinger of a We Need to Talk About Kevin future for our family).
My diet this time around has been much less healthful than it was during my pregnancy with Felix, which means there is really only one area in which I am more conscientious now than I was when gestating four years ago. In this pregnancy, my "beauty" routine (if you can call it that) is way, way less toxic, as a result of running Gimme the Good Stuff for the last three years. My clients ask me all the time what they should do about skincare, haircare and makeup while they are pregnant, so I'm going to repost what I consider to be the five most important ways you can protect your unborn child from toxins in cosmetics (we now know that many chemicals can indeed cross the placenta and wind up in your baby's bloodstream).
How to Detox Your Prenatal Beauty Routine
- Avoid fragrances. If you cut out just one unhealthy ingredient while you're pregnant, make it synthetic fragrance, which unfortunately, makes an appearance in nearly all beauty products and sometimes shows up on the label as "parfum." Why does fragrance stink? Because it often contains phthalates, those nasty chemicals implicated in early puberty, autism, childhood obesity and birth defects -- plus a bunch of other scary stuff. Opt for unscented products or those that specify that they contain only natural essential oils.
- Use less stuff. Take advantage of your full, shiny pregnancy hair and wash it less frequently (or, if you're really brave, become a no-pooer). Skip the expensive anti-aging eye cream. Of course, you can't be expected to go 40 weeks without wearing mascara or moisturizer. My advice? Be particularly discerning about products that you use on your whole body on a daily basis (the lotion you smear on after every shower), as opposed to special occasion products that cover a small surface area (red lipstick for a wedding).
- Get healthy on the inside. To lessen the potential damage of chemicals in your beauty products, boost your body's immune system. Load up on organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains and grass-fed dairy and meat. Keep exercising once you get your doctor's go-ahead. A healthier body is better able to handle the blast of phthalates you encounter whenever you walk through the perfume floor in Bloomingdale's.
- Go to the pros. Visit the EWG's Skin Deep cosmetics database to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the ingredients in all of your beauty products. Surfing this site is an overwhelming experience, which is why I created Gimme the Good Stuff, where I strive to provide quick and easy info on the safety of a range of products, without sending you into a full-blown panic.
- Stay sane. Stress and anxiety are bad -- for both you and your growing baby. Your kid is super lucky to have a conscientious momma, but don't turn a good thing into a negative one by bugging out about how toxic your shampoo is (easier said than done, I know).
I've been told these steps are pretty easy to implement. Many of you already do all this stuff and are ready for Level II detoxing. Of course, there are many more ways to reduce your toxic load even further, both by way of your beauty products, as well as a range of other easily avoidable household toxins to which most of us don't even realize we are exposed. If you want to dig deeper, email me.