Some no brainer, healthier swaps for you and baby
First off, congrats! Feeling overwhelmed? Excited but nervous? Well, fear not! You have plenty of time to set up your nursery, nest a bit, and even think of some names. But right now, it's time to take care of yourself. At this point, that is the best way to take care of your baby.
We've narrowed it down to the 3 easiest changes you can make that will help you have a non-toxic pregnancy. We promise, they are relatively no brainer swaps that have been shown to impact the health of your growing baby. If you start now, these are all things you will want to do once the baby is born, so you'll have created some healthy habits.
1) Vacuum More Often, Whatever That Means for You
Vacuum often, hopefully with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. What do we mean by often? Well if you vacuum once a month, make it twice a month. And if you do it every other week, do it once a week! Vacuuming is an easy way to get dust out of your home. Besides just looking messy, dust is one of the places we often don't realize that toxic chemical residues collect. As toxic chemicals that can affect hormone levels, like flame retardants, phthalates, and lead, drift out of normal household things and stuff that gets tracked into the house, they often settle into dust all around the house. This can be not so great for health because people often touch the dust and eat and breathe it without realizing it. Anytime you fluff a pillow, you inadvertently breath in some dust. When you pick up that magazine from the coffee table to flip through it with a bowl of popcorn, you get some on our fingers and accidentally eat it. It happens. But if you vacuum, and dust with a wet microfiber cloth more often (think a couple times a week) you can dramatically reduce the amount of dust just hanging out in your home. That makes a huge difference.
2) Get Healthier Food Storage Containers
There is such a big focus on what women should and shouldn't eat or drink when they are pregnant, but there's not very much talk about how the ways we prepare or store food can be just as important. This is a pretty easy swap, and we did a whole roundup on glass and stainless steel food storage containers, plastic free lunch packing essentials, another on glass and stainless steel water bottles, and another on reusable coffee and tea mugs. You can pick up or order things today and you'll benefit from the changes in as few as two to three days. That's how quickly BPA and chemicals like it that are often found in food storage containers can leave your system. BPA and other endocrine disrupting chemicals like them are often found in plastics to make them hard and clear, and can cause problems for your baby later in life, like early onset of puberty in girls, decreased semen quality in men, and uro-genital abnormalities, which is why you want to limit your exposure as much as possible during pregnancy. Choosing glass (or stainless steel) storage containers is any easy way to do that. Also, just a note here that even if you're using a plastic container that says BPA-free on it, if it's a hard and clear plastic, they've probably just switched out the BPA for another chemical just like it, so it's better to steer clear.
3) Go Fragrance Free, But Still Smell Lovely
Not only because you start to develop super smelling powers during pregnancy and you might want to give your nose a break, but also because fragrance, when you see it on an ingredient label, has become a term that can cover up to 300 different ingredients. Not all of these ingredients are bad, but some of them are. Studies have linked the chemicals in the term "fragrance" to cancer and other negative health effects. Phthalates are also often added to products that have fragrance to help the fragrance last longer. But, phthalates have been linked to various forms of hormone disruption and even preterm birth. So, look for fragrance free (not unscented, they are different) options for things like lotion, shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent, and even cleaning supplies. Products with natural essential oils are an alternative and a natural way to smell good, if you do still want a scent. There are also plenty of non-toxic ways to make your home or yourself smell pretty without the ingredient "fragrance."