Don’t smoke. Don’t consume alcohol (maybe one glass of wine.) And don’t drink too much caffeine. All women know these common dangers to avoid while pregnant, but what about the other harmful things that most people don’t think about?
You can never be too careful when it comes to caring for the health of you and your baby, even before he or she is born. There are several chemicals and toxins that can harm your baby’s development and cause other health issues later in life. Below are five surprising things you should try to avoid while you’re pregnant.
1. Your makeup.
Though it’s not the first danger that comes to mind, being aware of what makeup and skincare products you use during pregnancy is important. Some cosmetic products contain chemicals that are know to be dangerous during pregnancy. Make sure to use nail polish that’s free of toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. Also, steer clear of benzoyl peroxide, triclosan, and other harsh chemicals. It’s not a bad time to think about going all-natural when it comes to your beauty care products.
2. Household cleaners.
Household cleaners can contain caustic chemicals that can be harmful to you and your baby. For example, one study in 2008 showed that pregnant women exposed to common chemicals found in cleaning products increased the risk that their baby would develop asthma by over 40%. Avoid oven cleaners and window cleaners that use a chemical known as “glycol ether” and mildew removers that contain “phenols.” Other products may be safe, but their strong chemical odors can trigger yourpregnancy morning sickness. As an alternative to traditional cleaning products, you can pick supplies that are more environmentally safe — such as vinegar and baking soda.
3. Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables
Everyone is told to make sure that they wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them. This is because fruits and vegetables can be covered in a variety of pesticides that were used during the growing process. Recent studies have shown that pesticides are even more dangerous in infants and fetuses as their bodies are just not capable of detoxifying themselves from these hazardous chemicals. Pregnant women should try to focus on buying fruits and vegetables that are marked organic or pesticide free. If that choice is not available, it is very important to make sure that you peel all fruits and vegetables before eating them as most of the buildup of chemicals will be on the skin. Pregnant women do need a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to provide their baby with the proper nutrition, but the pesticide their babies can surely do without.
4. Acne Skin Treatments
- Accutane This skin treatment is taken orally for severe acne and is also known to cause birth defects of the brain and heart. Doctors even recommend waiting at least 30 days after discontinuing the drug before you try to conceive. You should also avoid applying any topical retinoid products, including Avage, Differin, Renova, Retin-A, retinols, retinyl palmitate and Tazorac.
- Topical salicylic acid This treatment used on acne-prone skin has not been shown to be harmful, but when taken orally, salicylic acid (aka aspirin) has been associated with birth defects and bleeding later in pregnancy. Dermatologists suggest avoiding salicylic acid in any form.
5. Air Fresheners
The final danger many women don’t think about are air fresheners! Many brands may contain chemicals which are toxic and could damage a developing fetus. Recent studies have tested about 15 different brands of air fresheners and at least 12 of them tested positive for chemicals which have been known to cause reproductive issues, hormonal problems and a variety of other undesirable conditions in unborn fetuses. One of the things that seemed so alarming about this study, is that of the 12 brands that tested positive, some of them were labeled all-natural. For this reason it is a very good idea to avoid use of any sort of air fresheners in your home.
All in all, it is best to go as natural as possible for the nine months of your pregnancy. Avoiding the harsh chemicals and toxins present in everything from your makeup to your cleaning supplies will be the safest route for you and your baby.