Congratulations, you are in the special early weeks of pregnancy and maybe you just realized the good news! This time is exciting, but can also be emotional as you try to navigate all you need to learn! I’m here to walk you through all you need to know about removing toxins in your life and home to support your pregnancy!
Why is this important during pregnancy?
I wish I had known the information I knew now back when I was pregnant! I definitely used a lot of products with chemicals in them and had NO idea that they could be harming me or my baby. Whatever your body comes in contact with while pregnant will also affect your baby. So it’s super important to learn all you can about the chemicals surrounding you and changes you can make.
Before you get scared, most chemicals won’t directly harm your baby, but when you add them all up, there can be concern for a lot of health issues during pregnancy and with a newborn. It’s the small amounts of chemicals over time in products that add up.
For example, parabens (found in many beauty products) have actually been found in cord blood samples, so we know that they are getting to baby when we are pregnant. Parabens are chemicals that can harm fertility, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. The trouble is not using them once, it’s when every single product we use contains them.
Now that you understand a little more on why these changes are important, keep reading to learn where to start and steps you can take!
The toxins in our lives are everywhere, and although it’s impossible to have a toxin free life, it’s a great idea to educate yourself during this time on ways to lower toxic exposure for you and your growing baby! What you put IN your body is just as important as what you are putting ON your body!
I always encourage one product out, one better product in! When you run out of a product, learn to replace it with something ‘cleaner’! No need to throw everything away! Also, do what you can within your comfort zone! Every little change can help!
Here are simple steps on what to look out for, plus some of my favorite swaps:
- Learn to use ewg.org. This is a wonderful website that will be your best tool in learning how to navigate chemicals in the home. You can search by product or ingredient. It’s easy to understand and navigate. Use it to search what you already use or to find a new product that is safe and in your budget! They have great pregnancy related topics too to help you! This one is very helpful!
- Look at what you use in your home that gets into the air! Examples would be air fresheners, candles, room sprays, or cleaning products. The biggest concern for these products are that they contain phthalates and penetrate the skin effectively. Check for artificial fragrance as an ingredient. Replace candles with pure essential oils. I use these. Choose a plant based cleaning product without fragrance. I use Thieves Cleaner or Branch Basics is also a great choice. Other easy ways to clear the air are by removing shoes in the house and getting some houseplants! Snake plants are great for purifying the air and easy to care for, you only have to water once a month!
- Look at what you are putting in your body! An organic diet is best during pregnancy because it will minimize pesticide and hormone consumption. If cost is an issue, try to at least buy the ‘dirty dozen’ in the organic section. You can also shop local farms if that is available to you! If you consume dairy or beef, hormone free options are the best choice. EWG also has a guide to produce that is very informative and updated regularly! Bottom line, try to choose organic on the things you eat most.
Take a look at what you are putting on your skin! The parabens that we talked about earlier are the biggest culprit in these products. Your skin is the largest organ in the body and pretty much absorbs what you put on it and therefore your baby will too! Learn the chemicals to watch out for in the laundry room. Here is my ultimate guide to low tox laundry with all that info! You should also be careful what you are using for personal care items. I rely heavily on EWG for information on personal care products and makeup! You will find some great brands. To make it easy, stay away from anything with the ingredient ‘fragrance’. Companies can put any ingredient they want under this term and not disclose it to us!
- Watch out for greenwashing! This is the hardest obstacle to shopping! This is when a company makes their product seem ‘clean’ by using green packaging or wording to market to us. The words to look out for: ‘pediatrician recommended’, ‘all natural’, ‘ecco friendly’, etc. Also, be careful when companies make you go to their website to see what they use as fragrance. Just because something is on the shelf at the store, does not make it safe. In the US, companies actually do not have to disclose to us what they are using, so it’s up to us to navigate. The biggest culprit for new parents is the baby laundry soaps. They rate an F on the EWG website, even though the packaging says ‘pediatrician recommended’.
- Take a look at home items. Things like plastic bottles and bags, food storage containers, shower curtains, mattresses, etc can all contribute to the toxic load in our homes. Don’t stress….keep the motto of replacing things when you run out. This is the last area of my home that I tackled and I’m still working on it. If you choose one thing in this area, replace your plastic food storage with glass first since we tend to heat food items in these. The BPAs found in plastic are the number one pregnancy item to avoid!
- As a mom of two teenagers, I wish I had this information when I was pregnant. The bottom line though is that it’s never too late to learn or make healthier changes for our families. Hopefully this has inspired you to learn more about low tox living and take action where it fits into your life as you start your own family! It’s such a special time with so much to think about and learn! I hope these tools will help you on your journey as well!
My story to low tox living
Three years ago I ditched candles in our home for diffusing because I thought it would be fun! I had no idea the rabbit hole I would go down learning about the things I was using in our home! I began to ditch fragrance in our home and was especially focused on doing an overhaul of our laundry products. I used to take about 5 allergy medications a day and after 3 months of ditching fragrance, I wasn’t taking any! So I did a deep dive into chemicals in personal care and cleaning products and the rest is history! I hope this serves as a resource for you! My motto is to do a little better every day! This is a marathon, not a sprint! With every bit of knowledge, you can make decisions that fit your family! To learn more about me or subscribe to my low tox newsletter go to sarahmartino.com or come be my friend on Instagram! I share daily tips and I’d love to help in any way I can!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah is a mother of two whose life and health were changed by ditching chemicals in the home! She is on a mission to help every family learn fun, easy ways to take steps towards a more low tox life! Her motto is 'know better, do better'!