For years Americans have been bombarded about the woes of chemical exposure and the manner in which it could affect our health. While there have been scientific studies that document the evils of tobacco and alcohol regarding pregnancy, there is less official advice regarding chemical exposure during pregnancy according to a recent study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG).
Each day, healthcare providers face the challenge of prescribing medications versus the side effects that could potentially occur. Pregnant face similar choices regarding the use of household products.
Research has documented that chemical exposure during pregnancy can lead to complications such as pregnancy loss, preterm births, birth defects, obesity, asthma, early puberty and learning disorders have been linked with some forms of chemical exposure. Where are these chemicals located? In soft drinks, food cans, plastics, carpet, glue, floor coverings, secondary cigarette smoke, barbeque and bon fires. The RCOG has made some recommendations for pregnant women that bears repeating such as:
- Use fresh food rather than processed foods whenever possible
- Reduce use of foods/beverages in cans/plastic containers, including their use for food storage
- Minimize the use of personal care products such as moisturizers, cosmetics, shower gels and fragrances
- Minimize the purchase of newly produced household furniture, fabrics, non-stick frying pans and cars during pregnancy and nursing
- Avoid the use of garden/household/pet pesticides or fungicides (such as fly aprays or strips, rose sprays, flea powder)
- Avoid paint fumes
- Only take over-the counter painkillers when necessary
While the RCOG reports that most of the chemicals listed above would probably not harm your baby, a combination of performing the activities listed above together could compromise your baby’s future health.
Until next time, remember – a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen, it takes a smart mother who knows what to do.