1. Water: Keeping hydrated during pregnancy is key. Unfortunately, there are many pollutants that call your tap water home. A quick solution is to purchase a carbon carafe filter pitcher like Brita or Pur. When possible, drink your water out of a glass or a stainless steel or ceramic thermos. Avoiding water in plastic bottles that has been exposed to heat or sunlight is important as it can begin to deteriorate and toxins can be released into your water.
2. Food: Let’s face it, buying organic food can be expensive. The good news is there are fruits and vegetables that are safe to buy conventionally: onions, corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms. There is a list that is refered to as "The Dirty Dozen" that if you can afford to buy organic do so. These fruits and vegetables have the highest level of pesticides: apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, peaches, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, kale/collard greens, grapes, blueberries and strawberries. Last but not least, if you can make ONE organic choice during your pregnancy it should be milk products. This simple change will help you avoid synthetic growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics that are often found in conventional milk.
3. Air: Open your windows every day. The windows in today’s homes are designed to seal the air inside. If you have quality windows chances are you won’t cringe when you open your heating bill but this also gives the environmental pollutants a chance to build up quickly. If you drive to work or spend a lot of time in the car, it is also important for you to know that the inside of your car is one of the most polluted environments in your life. Outdoor pollutants become concentrated in the small space of your car. Keep the windows cracked as often as you can to help circulate air.
4. Wash your Hands: This may seem like a “no brainer” but hand washing isn’t just to keep the germs at bay. Washing with good ol’ soap and water can reduce your exposure to hazardous substances and with the average person touching their face 3-5 times per minute you can’t afford not to!
5. Cleaning Products: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the air quality in our homes is 2-5 times more toxic than the air outside-often contaminated by somewhere between 20-150 different pollutants The majority of these pollutants are coming from the petrochemicals found in most home cleaning agents. There a wide variety of nontoxic cleaning alternatives on the market (seventh generation and ecover) but you can reduce your cleaning arsenal to liquid soap, lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda to cover most cleaning duties.
There is no better time than pregnancy to create a healthy environment for you and baby!
Learn more about living a more organic lifestyle during your pregnancy or for your new family by scheduling a one on one "Going Green" consultation today!
Heather Dudley is the Maternal Resource Coordinator and Infant/Toddler Sleep Coach at Cobblestones. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.