It wasn’t until after I had children that I learned about toxins and how to avoid them.
Oh, I wish I had known what to do when I was pregnant to avoid toxins but since I can’t go back in time at least I can help you.
It’s been a long time since I was pregnant so I thought I would have my friend Allie from Vigor it Out share her expertise about toxins and pregnancy.
These are things we can all be doing but they are even more important if you are pregnant or plan to get pregnant.
Is It Even Possible To Have A Less Toxic Pregnancy?
Our world and our lives are absolutely inundated with toxins.
From the foods we eat to the cosmetics we put on our faces, to the products that we use to clean our homes, toxic chemicals are in almost everything!
Unless you are making it a point in your life to specifically avoid toxins, there is a good chance you are rubbing toxins all over your body and home every single day.
An environmental toxin is described as an endocrine disruptor or cancer-causing chemical that can harm your health and biological system.
Some environmental toxins are man-made, and others are naturally occurring.
How Do You Avoid All These Toxins?
Once you become pregnant most of us are aware of simple changes we should be making for our baby.
• Stop smoking
• Stop drinking alcohol
• Begin taking a prenatal vitamin
• Be sure you get enough folic acid
Those are all wonderful steps to take to help your baby have the best chance at health possible.
But there are so many more things you are exposed to on a daily basis that can cause harm or even birth defects to your baby.
It is best to avoid as many toxins as possible while pregnant to have the best chance at a less toxic pregnancy.
Avoiding All The Toxins Is Impossible
Sorry to say, but because almost everything in our world contains toxins it is impossible to avoid them completely.
The stores you go to will still be using toxic cleaning products.
Traces of pesticides may still be lingering on your food at restaurants or in your packaged food products at home.
You cannot eliminate toxins altogether during your pregnancy but you can drastically reduce the number of toxins that you and your baby are exposed to giving your baby the best chance at healthy growth and healthy life.
More Simple Ways To Avoid Toxins During Pregnancy
• Eating a balanced whole-food diet as much as morning sickness and cravings allow you to
• Supplementing possible nutritional deficiencies with a clean ingredient protein powder safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding
• Being active every day if possible (exercising helps remove toxins from your body)
Then by adding in the 12 simple and pertinent changes from the list below, you can eliminate almost all typical toxins from your pregnancy.
Speaking of protein powders: Try this Birthday Cake Protein Shake… YUM!
12 Easy Lifestyle Changes For A Less Toxic Pregnancy
There are a lot of things that contain toxic chemicals that you might not even realize!
Had you realized you should stop using scented candles?
Avoid all perfumes?
That plastic water bottles have leached BPA’s into the water they contain?
Keep reading to learn 12 easy lifestyle changes and wonderful clean products that can help your pregnancy be less toxic.
A wonderful side-effect of pregnancy is that we learn how to live healthier than we ever knew how to before!
You can apply these tips to continue to avoid toxins while breastfeeding and for the rest of your life!
1. Try To Eat Organic
Organic produce and other foods can get really pricey.
But they help you to avoid a myriad of chemicals sprayed onto our foods to deter pests.
If eating all organic is out of your price range that’s ok (it is for me too) you can focus on avoiding the Dirty Dozen!
Those are the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest level of pesticides.
Focus on eating from the Clean 15.
Conversely, the clean 15 refers to the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least amount of pesticide residue.
Pick up a fruit and vegetable wash (like this one) to remove leftover pesticides the best.
I simply throw all my produce in the sink when I get home, fill it with water, and add some fruit and veggie cleaner.
After a quick soak, scrub, and rinse you can be much more confident that you are giving yourself and baby a whole lot fewer toxins!
Also worth noting is that it is of the utmost importance to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables while pregnant.
Listeria is a very dangerous disease for pregnant women and can be contracted from raw vegetables if not properly cleaned!
Pregnant women are more susceptible to contracting Listeria than the general population.
And even scarier, Listeria invades the fetus and placenta and can cause severe fetal infection.
Even more of a reason to pick up a 5 star rated top fruit and vegetable wash now!
2. Use A Steel Or Glass Water Bottle And Storage Container
We have all heard of BPA at this point.
It stands for Bisephenol A and leaches out of plastics and some metals into your food and drinks.
BPAs are an endocrine disruptor, which means they alter your hormones.
While you are pregnant your hormones are already altering themselves quite a bit.
The balance of your hormones at different times during your pregnancy is largely important to tell your body what it is time to do with progressing your pregnancy.
Also, consider that altering your hormones may alter your baby’s hormones as well.
Plastic water bottles leach BPAs into the water they contain when they are heated.
Perhaps you bring your water bottles straight home and put them into the pantry.
But consider how many times they have already heated and cooled in transit from the factory they were bottled in.
You can completely avoid drinking BPAs from water bottles by picking up a glass water bottle (like this one) or a stainless steel water bottle (like this one) that you can reuse.
Additionally, plastic storage containers can do exactly the same thing to your food and drinks.
Avoid Tupperware and substitute with glass food storage containers (like these) to avoid additional consumption of the toxin BPA while pregnant.
3. Avoid Most Canned Goods
Canned foods make it fast and easy to throw a meal together. But most cans are lined with a toxin!
The metal cans that our food comes easily prepared in are usually lined with a BPA-based epoxy, which breaks down and leaches BPAs once again into our food.
Recently a study was conducted at Stanford University of Medicine testing the levels of BPAs in a person’s urine after consuming different types of canned goods.
It was discovered that canned soups contain the highest levels of BPAs which is a whopping 229% higher than those who didn’t consume canned foods.
Coming in second was canned pasta at 70% higher concentrations of BPAs than those consuming no canned goods.
The consumption of BPA from canned fruits and vegetables was much smaller in comparison, only 41% higher in concentration than those who consumed no canned foods.
So to avoid this toxin during pregnancy it’s best to completely avoid canned:
• pasta sauce
• tomato products
4. Don’t Microwave Plastic
This might merely be a simple reminder to you, but avoid microwaving any food or drink in a plastic container.
When heated, plastics leach out BPAs into your food.
We discussed not storing food in plastic containers, but be sure not to heat anything up in them as well for your health and the health of your baby.
Heat food and drinks in microwave-safe glass or ceramic dishes.
Helpful Tip: When adding baby bottles to your baby registry request BPA-free baby bottles.
5. Change Your Soaps, Shampoos, And Conditioners
The products that we use to clean ourselves and get silky and shiny hair are typically loaded with toxic chemicals.
Flip over your current shampoo, conditioner, and soaps.
Can you read the ingredient list?
Much like we pay attention to nutrition labels and what we are putting into our bodies, you also need to be aware of the products that you are putting on your body.
Especially during pregnancy!
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it is porous which means that like a sponge, it absorbs everything that you put on it.
Once again it is really easy to change your products and routine to avoid almost all of these toxic chemicals during pregnancy and beyond.
There are lots of great natural products paving the way toward a healthier lifestyle available today.
- Start with a toxin-free shampoo (like this one I’m currently using and really love) that is actually affordable and cleans effectively. Sukin shampoos always contain no silicon, no sulphates, no added fragrances, no phalates, and lots more yuck they take out for you!
- Substitute your toxic conditioner with a healthy conditioner like Sukin (get it here).
- Replace your soaps with all-natural delicious smelling soaps like this sample pack.
You’ll be doing yourself, your baby, and your whole family a great service!
6. Look Deep Into Your Skincare Routine
Many of us have a pretty lengthy skincare routine.
Filled with cleansers, exfoliators, sunspot removers, moisturizers, face creams, and more.
Though many of these routines are highly effective at maintaining and repairing your skin, they are often primarily composed of chemicals.
Some of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, birth defects, or disrupt your hormones.
Remember that your skin is your largest and most absorbent organ and a large amount of what you put onto your skin is absorbed and enters your bloodstream.
It will then often cross the placenta and enter your baby’s bloodstream.
Everyone has their own specific skin types and skin problems so I can’t even begin to turn you on to the exact products you will need that are natural.
However, I can direct you to Amazon’s all natural skincare products here.
From there I’m sure you will find exactly what you need without all the toxic chemicals.
Look for products that are free of sulfates, phthalates, fragrances, dyes, and any other ingredients that sound weird.
7. Minimize Your Personal Care Products
Less is more when attempting to avoid toxins and live naturally for your pregnancy.
It is nice to have lots of hygiene products to make yourself feel clean and pampered but during your pregnancy less really is more.
If there are products in your personal care routine that aren’t absolutely necessary (think nail polish, skin lightener, etc.) remove them from your routine for the duration of your pregnancy.
For the things that you cannot remove, be sure to replace them with more natural alternatives.
Avoiding the most harmful chemicals added to most skincare and personal care products.
Here is a great list of the 12 most toxic chemicals common in your personal care items that you should avoid, and exactly why!
8. Don’t Dye Your Hair, Or Substitute With Natural Alternatives
There is a lot of controversy as to whether or not it is safe to dye your hair during pregnancy.
Here’s what we do know about the contents of hair dye.
Hair dyes contain:
• DMDM Hydantoin
These ingredients are known to be cancer-causing, alter hormonal functions, are known immunotoxins, and more!
You can make the choice as to whether or not you would want to be potentially exposing your fetus to these toxins simply to change your look or color grays?
Especially when there are more natural hair dyes without chemicals (like these) available if you absolutely must do some cover-up!
9. Use An Unscented Laundry Detergent
Once again another product that we use every day is full of harsh and toxic chemicals.
You might not think that what you put onto your clothes matters when it comes to toxin exposure but from your drawers, they will be placed directly onto your skin.
The “fresh scent” smells that we are used to associating with cleanliness are actually chemically created and air pollutants.
It is best to switch your laundry detergent to an unscented detergent.
If you still want a fresh scent, try adding in a few drops of essential oils for a natural fragrance!
Want to try making your own? Try these DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes
10. Switch To Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Or Make Your Own!
Some of the harshest chemicals that we come in contact with daily are in household cleaning products.
Many are known to contain:
• Endocrine disruptors: This means they mess with your hormones and possibly your baby’s hormones! Definitely not something you want to be exposed to during your pregnancy.
• Carcinogens: These are not just in cigarettes. Your typical household cleaners also contain carcinogens known to cause cancer!
• Neurotoxins: These chemicals are known to inhibit nerve impulses causing muscles and the heart to slow, and inhibit the functioning of new and old nerve tissues.
If possible switch all your cleaning products to natural alternatives.
You can pick up almost any type of cleaning product without added fragrances or harsh chemicals these days but they sometimes are a bit more pricey than their toxic counterparts.
A great deal of “green cleaners” are pretty affordable, just check out Amazon’s extensive list of green cleaners available!
If you have the time and energy, the absolute most natural and affordable way to clean your entire home is with essential oils and really simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
Top 3 Cleaning Products To Avoid And How To Make Them Yourself
1. Dryer sheets and fabric softener.
Replace them with Wool Dryer Balls and you can even add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil onto them.
You will be amazed at how well this all-natural alternative is!
Plus you buy them once, instead of buying those toxin-filled dryer sheets and fabric softeners every single month!
Lavender essential oil is my favorite scent to use on wool dryer balls that actually seems to please the whole family.
2. Antibacterial Cleaners.
We all want to stay healthy during our pregnancy and any time really but using antibacterial cleaners with harsh chemicals in them kills the good bacteria, the bad bacteria, and can increase the likelihood of creating superbugs. (Germs resistant to our antibacterial cleaners.)
My go-to All Purpose Cleaner recipe is:
Fill a large spray bottle with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water. Then add in:
• 5 drops each of Tea Tree essential oil (get it here)
• 5 drops Lemon essential oil (get it here)
• 5 drops Lavender essential oil (get it here)
These oils are antibacterials, antimicrobials, antifungals, and antivirals!
Need essential oils? Try the Simply Earth Subscription Box (read my full review) or visit my Amazon Shop
3. Air Fresheners or anything with “fragrance.”
Air fresheners are a large contributor to air pollution.
They propel toxins that are dispersed into the air and readily breathed in.
Though air fresheners may make the air smell nice quite quickly, air fresheners can cause damage to your lungs and flood you with toxic chemicals just as quickly.
Fragrance is a very broad term used in almost all cleaning products and cosmetics.
While you are pregnant (and ideally even beyond that time) you want to avoid anything with fragrance or perfume on the label.
Fragrance is an extensive term describing any combination of chemical scents.
Companies are not required to disclose what exactly is in their fragrance, but a good percentage of them (it’s proposed at least 1/3) are toxic chemicals.
Instead, replace your scents with essential oils.
Your house and body will be germ-free and toxin-free for a fraction of what you pay now!
11. Rethink Your Non-Stick Cookware
According to Wikipedia: “Non-stick is often used to refer to surfaces coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a well-known brand of which is “Teflon.”
In the twenty-first century, other coatings have been marketed as non-stick, such as anodized aluminum, ceramics, silicone, enameled cast iron, and seasoned cookware.”
Polytetrafluoroethylene is known to cause cancer.
It is definitely something that you want to avoid fully during your pregnancy!
Non-stick cookware becomes toxic when it is scratched.
Then the PTFE is able to leach into your foods.
Try some healthier options like ceramic bakeware (which I have grown to adore, it is no harder to clean and actually lasts a lot longer than the nonstick alternatives) and stainless steel cookware.
12. Take off Your Shoes At the Door
You should take off your shoes at the door while pregnant (and have your guests do the same) for far more reasons than simply having to clean the house less often.
While you are outside walking around your shoes are collecting toxins, fecal matter, and heavy metals.
Leaving your shoes at the door is more than a custom, it is a necessary addition to your lifestyle to avoid toxins during pregnancy.
Let’s Wrap It Up
You’ve got a lot on your plate now.
Your body will be changing every single day drastically for about the next year, (postpartum is filled with changes too!)
Do the best you can for yourself and your baby.
By you being here, I know that you are trying your best to eliminate toxins during pregnancy and you are already taking steps to do the best job for your beautiful baby you can!
I commend you, and good luck with this pregnancy and childbirth!
About Allie Edwards
Allie Edwards: a mommy of 2 little ladies who is passionate about health, fitness, and nutrition and loves helping out as many other mamas as she can while we tackle our health goals together one at a time!
Allie is a personal fitness trainer specializing in postpartum fitness who’s also certified in nutrition and lifestyle in pregnancy as well as certified in child nutrition and cooking from Stanford University.
When she’s not busy homeschooling and taking new courses to learn more about health and nutrition, she can be found blogging at Vigor it Out, helping other mamas lead the most healthy and happy life they can from preconception through motherhood!
I think people should know the differences between folic acid and folate. They’re not the same. I’d suggest adding that into this post if possible.
I would love to add something about it. Please provide any information you have.
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