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Toxins to Avoid During Pregnancy In my opinion, it is often what “Not to Do” that will insure a healthy baby! Nutrition is very important but even more important is going the extra steps to avoid toxic foods, drugs, chemicals in the home and work place, soft drinks, processed foods, microwaves, radiation, cigarettes and alcohol. Because we live in a world where we are bombarded with toxins, the babies born in this century will be physically, mentally and emotionally challenged more now than ever. To have a healthy baby, it is paramount that you avoid the “normal” toxic influences that are often disguised as good intentions. This is, in my opinion, the #1 single most important step to giving birth to a healthy happy baby!
Common Toxic Insults that are Often Overlooked
- Antibiotics During Pregnancy : If at all possible, many doctors are now recommending pregnant mothers avoid the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can wipe out all the good bacteria and flora necessary for health of mother and also needed in the breast milk colostom needed to develop a strong immune system and healthy gut in the new born. There are many other natural and non-invasive ways to fight infections while pregnant that will be less harmful and even better for mother! (All natural products carry a warning for pregnancy so consult an authority before taking).
- Over the counter : (OTC) medications that contain Acetaminophen and other chemicals that cross into the placenta and can cause severe injury. Just because something is approved by the FDA or sold as OTC does not mean that it is safe. Every year, the FDA recalls many prescription drugs and OTC drugs that were assumed to be safe. (2008, 426 drug recalls, 2009- 1742 recalls) We also see law firms in TV soliciting parents of birth defect children due to drugs that Mom took while pregnant. (See Side Effects – Acetaminophen article for more information) No drug is completely safe for a developing fetus!
- Cigarette and Alcohol and other Recreational Drugs : We all should know the dangers of these habits and how they can cause low birth weight and many other health issues. Love your unborn baby enough to quit! You owe it to them for the rest of their lives.
- Routine Unnecessary Ultrasounds : Ultrasounds are usually done for the convenience of knowing the sex of the child or for the doctor’s malpractice protection. There is no benefit for the baby. In fact, routine ultrasounds have never been approved by the American Medical Association for many of the reason they are routinely performed. A fetoscope or stethoscope can detect the baby’s heartbeat without the dangers of ultrasound. There are many other tests that can be done manually to get information needed such as weight and development of the baby. Ultrasound technology carries potential risks that have not yet been evaluated, yet many doctors are telling women that there is no risk. The risks are often overlooked and they have become a source of entertainment for the parents. The Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1993 found a correlation between ultrasounds and delayed speech. 1993, the Lancet Medical Journal found a correlation that infants were born at lower birth weight and often when technicians are wrong, parents are given inaccurate information that can lead to aborting the child or an emotional roller coaster during the pregnancy. Do your research and know that you have a right to avoid ultrasounds.
- Household Chemicals : Commercials on TV promote the use of antibacterial sprays, carpet and furniture sprays, soaps, room deodorizers, lawn and garden chemicals, bug sprays, cleaning products, paints and many other toxic chemicals that should be avoided while pregnant. Toothpaste contains fluoride and other chemicals that should be avoided. Body lotions and sunscreens can contain many chemicals. We will never escape all chemicals but we can reduce them in personal use, especially when pregnant. Chemicals inhaled or contacted by skin can pass into the placenta and affect the unborn child. All natural products can be found in organic stores to be used instead of the common ones found in the local grocery store. Read labels and ask questions.
- Microwave Ovens : Microwave radiation is between common radio and infrared frequencies. The big concern is the microwave radiation leakage from a unit that does not have a good door seal. Persons working in microwave fields have reported headaches, eyestrain, over-all fatigue and disturbance of sleep. These effects have been associated with the interaction of the microwave fields with the central nervous system of the body. Such effects have been labeled as “non-thermal” interactions. Foods cooked in microwave ovens do not lose nutritional value but are changed on a molecular level. Most health conscious people will avoid the use of microwave ovens as a precautionary measure because of the unknown effects.
- Dental Amalgam Removal and Dental X-Rays : It is not recommended that a pregnant woman get dental x-rays as the radiation can be dangerous for the developing fetus. Removing amalgam (mercury) fillings is also not recommended because the process of removal will release mercury vapors and minute pieces of the fillings. This can be absorbed by the mother and lead to birth defects or neurological problems in the unborn child.
- Vaccines : For years, doctors would never give pregnant mothers a vaccine, especially one that contains Thimerosal (50% mercury) or aluminum. In recent years, doctors are encouraging pregnant mothers to get the influenza vaccine which contains 225 micrograms of aluminum and trace amounts of Thimerosal (still not safe). If a mother is RH- (blood type) they are also recommending that the mother get up to 3 Rhogam vaccines while pregnant. Each vaccine may contain 25 micrograms of Thimerosal and can cause neurological injury for the unborn baby. If the shot is necessary, demand one that is Thimerosal FREE, look at the vaccine insert personally and you can also wait until after the baby is born. (See Rhogam Vaccine Dangers). Influenza vaccines given to pregnant mothers (2009-2010) have been shown to cause miscarriages. The reports are ignored by the media and the physicians who just keep recommending them. Vaccine package inserts state that the vaccines have not been tested to see if they can lead to infertility, effect breast milk or cause harm to the unborn fetus (Section 8).
- Processed Fast Foods : The health of your baby will be determined by how well you feed your body while developing the baby. Processed, fast and packaged foods are full of chemicals that do not belong in the human body. Babies are now born with over a hundred chemicals in their umbilical cord blood! They will already be challenged when they get into this world because of all the chemicals they will encounter. Avoiding as many chemicals in foods will give them the best chance to be healthy and will also be better for you. Nutrition is the building block to cellular health!
- Artificial Sugars : Artificial sugar is found in many food items that are low fat/low sugar, diet foods. They are man-made chemicals that are difficult to eliminate from the body, cause hundreds of negative affects in the body and should be outlawed! The most common ones are Splenda (Sucralose), Equal (Aspartame) and Sweet’N Low (Saccharin) and High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Plain old-raw cane sugar is much better if you need to sweeten something! Organic raw sugar is found in most grocery stores. Honey and Agave Nectar are also alternatives that are not dangerous to the baby.
- Aluminum & Teflon Cookware : The use of aluminum, Teflon and other man-made cookware is a hidden source of toxins that leaches into our foods when heated. The non-stick surfaces tend to chip off and crack, leaching small particles into our foods that are toxic and hard to eliminate. Evidence shows that the chemicals that leach can cause cancer in rats. Use cast iron, glass or stainless steel for all baking and cooking to be safe.
Green Your Home and Environment
Every week, try to eliminate something in your home that is toxic and replace it with a “Green” alternative. There are books that will help you find the right products for your home that will create a better, healthier environment for your family…all will benefit! Support your local health food store and let them know what you are trying to accomplish. They may be able to help you by ordering in bulk or can recommend a Co-operative for you to join too! Do not get overwhelmed, change takes time. As you use up a product, replace it with a family-friendly one and before you know it, your home will be a toxic-free zone!
By now, you should see that it is more about “what not to do” and what to avoid” while pregnant that will help you to have a healthy child and delivery! I like to think that if we go back to the basic way of living, we will be much better off! The conveniences that support our modern, fast-paced lives are making us less healthy and are changing humans genetically in ways that we will never know! I am deeply concerned for this generation of children who are going to be bombarded with chemical toxins from conception and birth forward. As parents, it is our obligation to try to eliminate as much chemical, emotional and physical stress as possible for them. Congratulations to you as you reduce the toxins in your life and the lives of those you love.