Getting pregnant is one sure way to motivate yourself to clean up your act—from your beauty routine and diet to everyday cleaning products. However, just because something is labeled “all-natural” (pretty much everything is these days), it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free from harmful chemicals. To help you navigate these tricky waters, we tapped Suzanne Price, the owner of Sprout, a natural and organic kids’ store with ruthlessly vetted products, to lead the way. Pregnant or not, these are notes we should all take to heart.
Cleaning Up Your Cleaning Products: “The first thing that I always tell people to change is their cleaning products. Stop spraying disinfectant chemicals around your house like Lysol and wiping surfaces with Clorox bleach wipes. The cleaning products you use, especially those with heavy scents, create the basis of your inside environment. Manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients of household cleaners on the products, and many contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and harsh acids. For this reason, the EPA has found the air quality in our homes to be 2–5 times more toxic than the air outside. Ingredients in cleaning products can include endocrine disruptors like phthalates or triclosan, cancer-causing formaldehyde, or can be ‘quats,’ which increase allergies and asthma. Nobody should ever use hand soap that says antibacterial if they don’t know that it is triclosan free. Pregnant moms should also avoid any kind of air freshener or scented candle, as most contain phthalates, hormone disrupters that are used in fragrance. An alternative would be a soy based candle like these. For a better understanding of the effects of cleaning products, read this interview with Dr. Larry Weiss, founder of CleanWell, as well as Sprout’s Healthy Baby Guide on household cleaners.”
CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes, $12.99, Amazon.
CleanWell Botanical Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner, $8.24, Amazon.
CleanWell Pocket Hand Sanitizer Spray, $4.49, Sprout.
CleanWell All Natural Anti Bacterial Foaming Hand Soap, $4.49, Amazon.
The Honest Company Aromatic Soy Candle, $21.94, Amazon.
Dapple Fragrance-Free Baby Bottle and Dish Liquid, $5.99, Amazon.
Dapple Stain Remover, $4.99, Sprout.
Honest Dishwasher Pods, $14.51, Amazon.
Honest Laundry Pods, $20.06, Amazon.
Cleaning Up Your Diet: “It is really important to eat organic fruits and veggies when you can. Conventional food is grown with pesticides, and pesticides are poison! They are meant to kill bugs and animals. In addition, they are linked to the development of cancers such as childhood leukemia. The EPA states, ‘There is no safe level of pesticides, only those with an acceptable level of risk.’ According to a report done by the National Research Council, 30% of commonly used insecticides, 60% of herbicides, and 90% of fungicides are potential carcinogens. You should limit conventional meat and dairy and avoid animal fat as much as possible. Toxins like PCBs and dioxin travel through the food web in fat and become more concentrated as they move up the food chain. A 1994 EPA report found that meats and cheeses are a major source of dioxin exposure. Eating less animal fat will greatly reduce your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals. If possible, choose brands without added antibiotics and growth hormones. (Read more about the case for organic fruits and veggies and meat.) Make sure you avoid BPA in cans and plastics. BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen and has been federally banned from baby bottles. However, this chemical can still be introduced into our diet through canned food and the many plastic containers we use to store food. As we have seen, this chemical is prevalent in the bloodstream of many Americans and can be easily reduced by changing certain eating habits. One study showed a drop of 66% of BPA by removing exposure to plastics and cans for just eight days.”
Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Tea, $7.50, Sprout.
Bkr Glass Bottle, $35, Amazon.
Cleaning Up Your Beauty Routine: “We all use more personal care products in a day than we probably realize. Many contain chemicals that, even in small doses, may not be good for us. However, the cumulative effects of using these chemicals spread out across different products added together, day after day, have never been tested. We do know that what you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream and passes through the placenta, as well. Avoid fake fragrances that often contain phthalates, known endocrine disruptors that have already been banned in plastic toys for kids under 3. Avoid parabens, endocrine-disrupting preservatives, some of which are banned in Europe. Avoid triclosan (often found in antibacterials), which can become dioxin, a known carcinogen. People should really be careful about the nail polish they use. It emits all sorts of VOCs when applied, most notable formaldehyde. For a broader list of ingredients to avoid, see Sprout’s Healthy Baby Guide. Another good resource to determine if a specific brand or product is safe is EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.” (Ed Note: Online shop Credo is dedicated to finding the best clean beauty products. For readers dealing with pregnancy acne, please read this article as you plan your product roster. Note that many “all-natural” products might also clog your pores.)
Zoe Organics Belly Butter, $20, Credo.
Ella + Mila Nail Polish, $10.50, Amazon.
Mambino New Beginnings Pore Refining Face Wash, $22, Sprout.
Cake Anti-Aging Growth Serum, $72, Credo.
Antonym Cosmetics Lola Lash Mascara, $23, Credo.
Suntegrity Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer, SPF 30, $30, Credo.
Lina Hanson Global Baby Serum, $35, Credo.
Nine Naturals Citrus Mint Shampoo, $19, Amazon.
Nine Naturals Citrus Mint Conditioner, $20, Credo.
Nine Naturals Citrus Geranium Bodywash, $19, Amazon.
Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow Balancing Facial Wash, $33, Amazon.
Love Fresh Deodorant, $21, Credo.
Ilia Lipstick, $26, Credo.
Tammy Fender’s Skin Tone Brightening System, $185, Amazon.
RMS Living Luminizer, $38, Credo.
Lily Lolo Lipgloss, $18, Credo.