We all know that pregnant women should avoid many things. From alcohol to undercooked meat and beyond, there’s a long list of “do not’s”. Chemicals are no exception. Many are unavoidable but there are some that you can and should avoid. Check out these common household items for the chemicals that could be harmful to you and your family.
Shower curtains, rain coats, nail polish, insect repellant and anything containing a fragrance: Phthalates are commonly found in plastics. If you’ve already eliminated as much plastic as possible from your life, then you’re ahead of the game. That said, pthalates can also be found in our food and water. Beware of processed and/or packaged foods and beverages. Pthalates may increase the risk of a miscarriage or gestational diabetes. They may also contribute to language delays.
Antibacterial soaps, body washes, toothpaste and cosmetics: Do you take every chance you can to wash your hands? Back. Off. The. Soap. But for real. You may have heard that antibacterial soaps are contributing to antibiotic resistance. But, the triclosan that’s often found in antibacterial products also affects infant birth weight and size. While the body normally flushes this chemical out, it can still transfer to a fetus. It also reduces thyroid hormone levels responsible for fetal growth and development. So, check your toothpaste, soaps, detergents, etc.
Sunscreen: Going on a babymoon? Here’s your cue to double check your sunscreen’s ingredients! Many ingredients found in chemically-formulated sunscreens can disrupt your hormones. This could contribute to things like low birth weight. Steer clear of Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octocrylene among others. Instead, grab mineral-based sunscreen that is not spray-on. Spray-on products = very likely to enter your lungs.
Microwave popcorn bags, take-out containers, leather products, waterproof clothing: Perfluorochemicals…Say that five times fast! It’s time to familiarize yourself with these chemicals if you aren’t already. They’re frequently used in consumer products because of their water and oil-repelling qualities. So, why avoid them? Studies have varied, but some suggest that these chemicals can contribute to low birth weights.
Anything containing a “fragrance”, from beauty products to household cleaning supplies: Avoid, avoid, avoid! Why? These fragrances are typically synthetic (i.e., chemically derived). Companies are actually legally able to keep the exact ingredients under wraps in the United States. So, err on the side of caution.