Top 10 ways to protect your unborn child from toxins
Most mothers-to-be would be all too familiar with the big pregnancy no-no’s: don’t smoke or be around people who do, stay away from those all-too-tempting glasses of red wine after a long day at work, don’t eat too much junk food, the list goes on. What many don’t know is just how much damage unsuspecting consumer products may be doing to an unborn child.
A study by the Washington Toxics Coalition, Commonweal and the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition has found that babies enter the world already exposed to many toxic chemicals by way of their pregnant mothers. The study tested blood and urine from pregnant women during their second trimester of pregnancy and found their bodies contaminated with chemicals found in a wide variety of items ranging from shampoo to plastic water bottles, non-stick cookware and food cans.
These chemicals can cause reproductive problems and cancer, disrupt hormonal systems like the thyroid, impair brain development and cause birth deformities. The following dangerous toxins were found in every woman tested:
|CHEMICAL||PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN IT||HEALTH EFFECTS|
|Bisphenol A||Polycarbonate plastic, food can lining||Cancer, early puberty, diabetes, obesity, reproductive problems|
|“Teflon chemicals” (perfluorinated compounds)||Stain-protection products, non-stick cookware||Low birth weight, obesity, cancer|
|Mercury||Air conditioners, lamps, cleaning products, cosmetics, nasal sprays||Impaired brain development|
|Phthalates||Shower curtains, shampoo||Reproductive problems, asthma|
Narelle Chenery, founder of Miessence, the world’s first certified organic personal care products, has been researching organic chemical alternatives for 15 years and believes that children today will be far worse off than previous generations. “Some of these kids are going to be dying before their parents. They’re born toxic, it’s pretty scary.”
She says the developing foetus is extremely vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals. “We used to think the placenta was a filter between the mother and the baby, but now we’re discovering that it’s actually not.”
With a child’s most critical development taking place in the womb, Narelle believes this is a time when mothers-to-be should be taking proactive steps against harmful toxins.
One of the easiest measures Narelle says a woman can take to ensure a healthy baby is to eat organic, fresh fruits and vegetables. “Our bodies have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to ingest mother nature’s food, food that’s grown in the dirt. We’re not designed to eat out of boxes and cans and packets, that’s not real food.”
Around the home, Narelle suggests using natural cleaning agents like probiotic sprays to create a healthier, well-balanced indoor environment. Rather than kill off bad bacteria completely as chemical sprays do, these replenish surfaces with beneficial bacteria to overgrow it.
Narelle says another way of reducing indoor toxins is to perfume the home or car with essential oils instead of artificial air-fresheners and sprays. These are just as effective and much less damaging to your health.
From shampoo to facial moisturiser and foundation, many women’s hair and beauty products still contain a myriad of harmful chemicals and synthetics. Catherine Cervasio, creator of Aromababy organic baby products, has been researching the health effects of chemical ingredients for 20 years, and recommends eliminating any high foaming shampoos and bath or shower gels, as well as using fragrance-free, natural creams on the skin.
To help de-toxify the body before giving birth, Catherine recommends drinking at least two litres of fresh, filtered water daily and exercising regularly. Massaging the body daily enhances muscle tone, eliminates waste, improves circulation, benefits the skin’s elasticity and encourages a positive self-image.
Concerned mothers should be aware that with no strict guidelines on the use of the terms “natural” or “organic” in Australia, the best way to verify a safe product is to look for an Australian certified organic logo. You can be sure these products are independently certified and meet particular standards.
Narelle and Catherine’s tips for a happier and healthier pregnancy.
- Eat organic food as much as possible.
- Avoid canned foods.
- Drink at least two litres of water daily.
- Use natural rather than chemical cleaning agents.
- Replace artificial air fresheners and sprays with essential oils.
- Choose fragrance-free, natural personal care products.
- Avoid artificial perfumes on the skin.
- Avoid highly foaming shampoo and bath or shower gels.
- Exercise regularly. Just 20 minutes a day can be beneficial!
- Massage the body daily.
Catherine assures that these simple actions will make a world of difference. “You will know that you’re doing the very best you can to prepare for the birth of your new arrival the way mother nature intended … and that can only be good!”
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