How to avoid hidden toxins during pregnancy - Breathe Healthy

How to avoid hidden toxins during pregnancy - Breathe Healthy

How to avoid hidden toxins during pregnancy - Breathe Healthy

How to avoid hidden toxins during pregnancy – Breathe Healthy

Since you are here, you are definitely someone who likes making conscious choices for better living for yourself and your family. Since you are on the website, I may further reasonably guess that either you are planning or expecting an angle in your house very soon. I am sure you are excited just as I was when I heard the good news. But, being a parent is not just about getting pregnant and giving birth to the baby. It is almost a spiritual experience, a penance that transforms you into a demi-god, someone who is going to create and nurture a new life. This is a BIG responsibility. But it’s the whole journey that makes it so exciting! And with the intense love of a creator, I am sure you will sail through just fine. 

From the moment you find out you're pregnant, your desire to keep yourself and your child healthy amplifies multi-fold. While the easier things include eating a balanced diet, ensuring moderate physical activity and making your surroundings safe. The most difficult part that is often overlooked includes protecting yourself and your unborn child from toxins present in the air we breathe, the hygiene we follow, the food we eat, the water we drink and the household products we use. In this article I have penned down ten easy tips to make transition towards non-toxic (or less toxic) life so you may know where to start and don’t get lost down the Google rabbit hole. 

  1. Get some fresh air:

Open up the windows and ensure proper airing of your home. The studies have discovered that air inside of the homes is 2 to 5 times more likely to be polluted than the air outside. Allowing fresh air inside your home minimises domestic pollutants, eliminates odours, extracts CO2 from breathing and combustion and increases the level of oxygen, it further reduces the dampness in the home. Leaving the window open for approximately 15-30 minutes per day, preferably before 9am or after 9pm when air is less polluted is a good start.  If you live in a city with higher pollution levels, don’t worry too much - studies have shown that indoor air in offices and homes is, on average, more polluted than outdoor air! So go ahead and open that window. Kitchen and bathrooms benefit the most from a good airing.  

  1. Be careful with those scented candles:

In the name of Stress Free and Relaxation, we often bring home or are gifted fragranced products such as scented candles. Just like with hand and body lotion, planning, expecting and new mothers must inspect the scented candles for harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, lighting a few scented candles made from paraffin wax can be damaging. Studies state addition of the fragrance oils into paraffin candles releases more soot which can cause respiratory problems and may aggravate the conditions of those who already have asthma, lung, or heart problems. The toxic chemicals that may be present in the paraffin mixture and released through burning include Acetone, Trichlorofluoromethane, Carbon Disulfide, 2-Butanone, Trichloroethane, Carbon Tetrachloride, Tetrachloroethene, Chlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Xylene, Phenol, Cyclopentene. Look for products with no-lead. Consider a vase of fresh, sweet-smelling flowers from your nearest florist instead. 

  1. Read labels on Aerosols and Air Fresheners:

Many pregnant women often experience excessive sweating and body odour. Socialites as well as working professional mothers tend to resort to artificial fragrances, fresheners and aerosol products to mask the body odour. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when absorbed by the body may affect the baby’s lung and other organ development. Aluminium is the common deodorant ingredient that clogs your sweat glands to prevent perspiration. It is not the only one, Parabens, Phthalates, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, synthetic fragrances – they all seem to the ones you must avoid. The presence of toxins, their concentration and duration of the exposure matters equally. Smell fresh by using a deodorant that is natal safe and toxin free.

  1. Stay clear from tobacco:

Tobacco smoke and its negative association with pregnancy has been scientifically established. First of all, smoking reduces a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Continued smoking increases chances of complications and tobacco smoke harms babies in the womb as well as after their birth. In a study of non-smoking women, new-born’s levels of cotinine (a chemical that forms in the body when exposed to nicotine) are actually higher than their mothers. Keeping yourself and your baby free from active as well as passive smoke becomes of paramount importance. Kick that butt out of your house, avoid areas where others are smoking and restrict intake of tobacco in any form. Don't allow anyone to smoke inside your home, car or office cubicle.

  1. Go easy on Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is used for a variety of reasons including easing stress, promoting sleep, or uplifting the mood. The fragrance of essential oils is released into the air when they are naturally heated or vaporised, for achieving the desired end result. Essential oils, mainly condensed natural extracts, come in different scents and qualities. While some research suggests health benefits, there is no regulatory authority over quality, purity and process making essential oils. Some women may experience allergic reactions or skin irritation hence it is best to consult with your doctor and a qualified aromatherapist before experimenting for a desired result. If you already have essential oils, make sure you research the label thoroughly, look for 100% essential oils without additives and fillers, buy products stored in dark coloured glass containers from a trustworthy brand. If in doubt, just let that bottle sitting on the shelf. 

  1. Assess your workplace toxicity

There are a handful of studies that highlight the direct correlation between exposure to environmental chemicals and negative effects on women’s reproductive and baby’s health. There are several known chemicals such as carbon monoxide, lead, radiation, pesticides, Arsenic, Mercury, gases, etc. however many employees may not be aware of possible harmful effects on the reproductive health and the baby. Women exposed to toxic and harmful chemicals at the workplaces have demonstrated higher incidences of lower birth weight, preterm birth, weaker lungs and other complications. Not just chemicals in the air, even the negativity and discrimination towards pregnant women in the organization may lead to higher mental stress and impact wellbeing of the mother and the baby.  

  1. Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals

One study found that women who were regularly exposed to solvents through repairing cars, painting and furniture stripping, had a slightly higher risk of having a baby with gastroschisis. Asbestos, solvent based paints, scraping off old paint and inhaling paint fumes is likely to pose risk to yourself as well as your baby. The chemicals and solvents used in stripping and varnishing the wood may further pose risk. Hence its best to avoid exposure from in-house painting and varnishing activities. Plan a lovely vacation or visit your in-laws as your dream house or quick fix is getting done. 

Takeaway: Air pollution and inhalation of fumes, smoke, and toxic substances can affect your eyes, throat and lungs. The symptoms can vary person to person and may aggravate if there are existing health concerns such as asthma or other lung problems. The best way to start is to act on the things that are within your control. If you’re worried about air pollution and how it can affect your pregnancy and your baby, talk to your doctor.


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Hi, I am Ekta Dharap, a mom of a tiny tod. I have learnt that to take optimum care of your little one, it's imperative to first take care of your own wellness and well-being. Besides, our children look up to us, and how we treat ourselves. This makes putting self care as top priority, without an ounce of guilt.

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