When you’re trying to conceive and then expecting your baby, you’ll be showered with advice about how to have a healthy pregnancy. What to eat, what not to eat, what to do, what not to do, etc. Some of these tips are easy to abide by but others are much harder for example toxin in your environment.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which warns that exposure to environmental toxins can be detrimental to the development and future health of your baby.
Phthalates & Other Common Household Chemicals to Avoid When You’re Expecting
It’s hard to say we’re shocked by the news that common household chemicals are proving to be more harmful than helpful in regards to long-term health. However, the evidence that is coming down the research pike is still downright alarming. While we don’t want to be a part of the fear-monger machine, we do want our clients and their babies to have the best chance for a happy and healthy life.
One of the biggies: phthalates. Researchers warn that mothers’ phthalate exposures before conception may be an overlooked risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes. If you aren’t already familiar with this family of chemicals used predominantly in soft plastics, consider that phthalates are used in the large majority of processed foods packaging, which means they are ingested by most Americans on a daily basis. If you read the ingredients listed on the bulk of your family’s health and beauty care products, you’ll see phthalates listed as well.
The problem? Phthalates have been connected with female infertility and low sperm counts, and now it turns out that male babies born of mothers with higher diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) exposure during pregnancy are at higher risk for being infertile later on in life.
Other chemicals to avoid include BPA (Bisphenol A), found in plastic and food packaging, and common pesticides used in commercial agriculture. During pregnancy, babies can also be exposed to BPA from their mother if she swallows BPA that has passed from a can or plastic container she eats or drinks from.
The reality is that the human body can only stand so much. While it does an amazing job at breaking these chemicals down and eliminating as much as it can from its systems, there are bound to be side-effects.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid Harmful Toxins While Pregnant or Trying to Conceive
The good news is that the steps you can take to minimize your exposure to phthalates and other harmful toxins are all steps that make for a healthier body and planet overall.
- Limit your intake of processed foods. Doctors and nutritionists advocate limiting your intake of processed foods altogether. In addition to exposure to toxins, these foods are typically high in carbohydrates, sweeteners and additives or preservatives that your body just doesn’t need. Eat as many whole foods as possible and you’ll notice a difference in how you look and feel.
- Read product labels. Read the product labels on household cleaners and health and beauty care products. Look for products that are labeled phthalate-free. In most cases, the companies already leading the toxin-free train are the ones who are doing their part to use eco-friendly and conscientious business practices.
- Ditch anything with “fragrance” in the label. The word fragrance means “scent that is made in a laboratory using chemicals.” Certain chemicals used to create fragrance are also linked to cancer, infertility and other serious medical conditions. Instead, look for products that use essential oils, which are the real deal, derived from the plants that yielded the desired scents in the first place.
- Eat pesticide-free foods. Organic is just a label, but plenty of food producers who haven’t gone through the Organic certification process grow and produce foods that are free of harmful pesticides and herbicides. Talk to the growers at your local Farmer’s Market and prioritize foods, grains, meats and other edibles that are grown/produced without the use of harmful chemicals, hormones and antibiotics.
Have questions about your diet and lifestyle choices during pregnancy? Schedule consultation with Overlake OB/GYN.