I'll always remember a conversation I had with my Pediatric Gastroenterologist after I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She told me infertility was very common in women with Celiac Disease. She unfortunately just had her 4th miscarriage & she also had Celiac. I had been dreaming of being a mom since I was THREE years old!! Our convo did not sit well with me.
My husband ordered a book for me before we were pregnant with baby #1 that had great information on living a toxic-free lifestyle. Everything made SO much sense! I completely changed our lifestyle into a healthy one. Shortly after I became pregnant and I knew right away, that the only thing I could control was what I put on & in my body. There are a lot of things out of our control during pregnancy, but a healthy lifestyle is up to US!
In a small study conducted by the EWG, researchers found 287 chemicals in babies umbilical cords. "Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied" (EWG). It's safe to say, we should do everything we can to try to bring this number down!
Guide to a Toxic-Free Pregnancy & Baby
1. Eat organic/Non-GMO foods to protect your unborn baby from toxic synthetic pesticide exposure. Pesticides account for one in three known endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with the hormone system) and may set the stage for autism, ADHD, mental development and cancer.
Also, organically grown food can contain up to 25% higher nutrients than conventionally grown produce.
NOTE: If the label says USDA organic that means it’s also nonGMO. However, if it’s labeled nonGMO that does not necessarily mean it’s organic. Check out the NON-GMO Project for more information on GMO's.
2. Drink filtered water. According to the Environmental Work Group, there are 300 + chemicals and pollutants in tap water. Volatile organic chemicals, heavy metals, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and fluoride to name a few. Radiant Life System & Berkey Water Filters are great. Here is a stainless water bottle that filters water instantly!! We used a local company called Minnehaha Water Outlet for a whole house water filter system.
3. Eat wholesome organic fruits and vegetables. Think whole foods like fruits, vegetables, proteins, grass fed meats, antibiotic free chicken, nuts, fresh herbs and spices. Focusing on whole foods is a great way to steer clear of the chemicals and GMO’s found in our food supply. Great resources for recipes: Healthy Living Revolution (plant-based. Download their awesome FREE cookbook!), Wellness Mama (Paleo Inspired), 100daysofrealfood, Ohsheglows (Vegetarian).
4. Don’t drink bottled water & avoid plastic as much as possible. Avoid exposure to plastics, particularly ones that contain Bisphenol A (BPA) and come in contact with water and food. Use stainless steel or glass containers and bottles.
5. Get rid of toxic household cleaning products.Read labels carefully. Even ‘green’ cleaning products may contain questionable ingredients. Avoid phenols, phosphates, and petroleum based surfactants. Look for “non-toxic” and “biodegradable” ingredients. VINEGAR and BAKING SODA makes it simple & affordable.
DIY All purpose cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.
Direct Marketing Co.: Norwex, Pure Haven, Poofy Organics
6. Avoid personal care products that contain harmful chemicals.Skin is the largest organ on our body. Top 10 ingredients to avoid: Parabens, propylene glycol, petroleum jelly, Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), sodium laureth sulfate, Diazolidinyl Urea, PVP/VA, Stearalkonium Chloride, synthetic colors and fragrances.
Brands to look for: Shea Moisture, Dr. Bronner’s, Juice Beauty, Weleda, MamaNatural.
Direct Maketing Co. NYR Organic (Top recommendation!), Pure Haven, BeautyCounter (BeautyCounter does not guarantee their products are completely nonGMO. This is my only reservation, but they have eliminated A LOT of chemicals in their products & it's much better than what is found in the store).
7. Avoid artificial food dyes and high fructose corn syrup. Blue #1 (Banned in France and Europe), Blue #2 (linked to brain tumors), Citrus Red #2 (linked to bladder cancer), Green #3(banned in Europe economic communities), Red #40 (linked to hyperactivity), Red #3 (linked to thyroid tumors), yellow #5(banned in Norway and linked to cancer, violent behavior, allergies), yellow #6(banned in Norway and Sweden). Organic food has no added dyes or preservatives.
8. Take a prenatal made with nonGMO whole food ingredients, backed with research. HMP recommends Juice Plus+
9. Take off your shoes in your home to reduce pesticides, lead and animal fecal matter (from the lawn and soil) that get tracked in the house.
10. Read your labels on gum. 6 common ingredients that cause cancer and more are aspartame, phenylalanine, BHT, calcium phosphate, gum base and titanium dioxide that can be hidden in gum.
11. Drink organic teas. Herbs are often heavily sprayed with pesticides that are not washed off prior to drying, steeping and drinking.
12. Buy an organic mattress for your baby. Cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop with pesticides. Formaldehyde, flame retardants, and PDBEs are some of the chemicals in mattresses. Dr. James Sprott, OBE, states that crib death (SIDS) is caused by toxic gases, which can be generated from a baby’s mattress. BabyTyme Furniture in North Olmsted carries the 2 leading brands; NaturPedic and Lullabye Earth.
13. Use BPA-free baby bottles. Suggested brands: Evenflo, Dr. Browns & Avent. More green tips for your newborn.
14. Avoid Johnson & Johnson products. Contains cancer causing chemicals like formaldehyde. Other hazardous ingredients are DEA, propylene glycol, parabens, oxybenzone. 89% of products labeled “recommended by doctor” were found to be the worst offenders, containing some of the most dangerous chemicals! Look for USDA organic seal. Look for fragrance, paraben and BPA free. Here are more green tips for your newborn from a previous blog I wrote.
15. Do your research on vaccines. The United States requires infants to receive 26 vaccines (71 doses), the most in the world-yet we have one of the highest infant mortality rates. More than 6 U.S infants die per every 1000 births. Sweden and japan administer 12 vaccines, the least amount, and report less than 3 deaths per 1000 live births. A study was published in 2011 in The Human & Experimental Toxicology revealing nations that require more vaccine doses tend to have higher infant mortality rates. "Linear regression analysis of unweighted mean IMRs showed a high statistically significant correlation between increasing number of vaccine doses and increasing infant mortality rates" (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Also, ask to see the vaccine insert for any pregnancy vaccines recommended. The inserts say "never been studied on pregnant women".
Book Recommendation: The Vaccine Friendly Plan, by Dr. Sears
16. Do Prenatal Yoga. Research suggests that prenatal yoga can:
•Reduce stress and anxiety
•Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
•Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath
17. Read “Raising Baby Green”, by Alan Greene, M.D.
18. Don’t forget to be positive! Studies have indicated that happy pregnant women are more likely to deliver a healthy baby!