tips for a green (and glowing) pregnancy
You might have heard the story before, but I'm forever grateful for getting pregnant with my daughter Nia back in 2012. It was when I became pregnant with her that a switch went off in me. A desire to learn more about my health & wellness and why I was using + doing what I was in the home. It didn't just end when I was carrying her, but completely changed our family's course, and ultimately has lead us to where we are now.
So now that I'm pregnant with baby #2, this same feeling is there -- it just never fully left the party anyway ;) As a mama always striving to do her own research and be her own source of learning + growing + evolving (for the better), I wanted to offer you up some of my tips for a green (but let's not forget glowing) pregnancy!
There's SO much magic that happens when you're carrying your baby. All the firsts that still matter each time you become pregnant. As a holistic-minded mama, I knew to trust my gut when something didn't feel right. When I think back to 2012, this looked a lot like questioning what I was cleaning my home with. It never occurred to me before carrying a human what might be lurking in our household products, but all of a sudden, I started wondering... why is it saying this harmful claim on the label if it's supposed to be doing my home good?!
Thus began my green pregnancy journey. And what I would like to share with you/pass on if it helps you out even the slightest!
1. trust your instincts
This is first and foremost, and I KNOW you get this. We wouldn't get that "gut" feeling if it didn't mean something. It's just whether we FULLY trust it or not ;) Mine started flaring up when I did become pregnant for the first time, so I took it and ran with it. I read. I googled. I listened. And then decided how I wanted to make my choices moving forward. I have some tools below to help with this if you've been questioning how to truly green up your pregnancy!
2. get green cleaning
When I started questioning the "cleaning" products in my home, it led me to learn that they were not only toxic, but also that I could achieve the same level of clean (if not better) by using natural items (because nature truly does know what it's doing). Don't get me wrong... this shift was still gradual (I battled with - how to safely dispose of toxic cleaners vs. just using them up before getting rid of them. News flash: if I could go back / what I would tell YOU is to just ditch them. It's not worth your health to use them up in the name of being a good steward of the empty bottle club). But definitely make it a priority!
Here are a few startling facts that really helped me make the switches as quick as I could:
Most cleaners don’t have their ingredients listed on the labels as product formulas because they’re considered trade secret (aka we have NO idea as consumers what is lingering in these products, which is a pretty much a guarantee that they are not good ingredients they're keeping out!)
Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals
Ordinary cleaners can cause some people to suffer mild to severe allergic reactions to the skin, eyes & lungs (think about this for a second...how is this normal???)
Many cleaners are pollutants that contribute to smog, reduce the quality of drinking water, and are toxic to animals
And now to relate it specifically to pregnancy (which really turned on the motor for me making the change):
A landmark study in 2006 found up to 287 industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in 10 newborn babies, measured in umbilical cord blood. The contaminants included 133 carcinogens, 157 chemicals that can harm the brain and nervous system and 151 chemicals linked to birth defects
New scientific evidence suggests that some chemicals may actually be more toxic to humans at low levels than at high levels, challenging the conventional wisdom that higher doses are always more harmful.
-David R. Boyd, Dodging the Toxic Bullet
Parents might be surprised to know that companies are free to use almost any ingredient in children’s personal care products. Some “natural” products contain artificial preservatives. Some marketed as “gentle” contain harsh skin irritants.
- EWG Research
I'll leave it there because I could REALLY go off on a tangent (but I'll save it for another post specifically on this topic!). If in the meantime you want to learn more, I have a free green cleaning eBook for you to download HERE + you can watch the webinar on this topic HERE. I also created a list of resources for you to do your own informed research: bit.ly/greencleanresources.
3. choose with your food
We always have a choice right? And this is a pretty straightforward one to mention, but I still need to. When you can, opt for fresh, whole foods (preferably nutrient dense!) that are organic when possible. Now I admit when I was pregnant with Nia, we were NOT eating a ton of organic produce...but again, I was LEARNING as I went with her and this was one of the things I slowly improved on as my pregnancy continued. I can't go back and that's ok, but now as a family we try to eat between 90-95% organic (with some wiggle room for eating out + what I'll explain more below on this) and eat a lot of whole foods (aka not as much packaged as fresh).
If organic everything does not seem possible to you (budget, sourcing, etc) then at least stick to the Clean 15 guide found on EWG. These are the top products that contain the least amount of pesticides on them (because remember this matters - just look back to the umbilical cord stat above!). But if I'm being completely honest... if you're a (bargain) hunter like I am, you'll sometimes notice that organic is priced the same as conventional - you just might need to look a little closer.
Example from this past weekend alone: I was in Harris Teeters and reg strawberries were 2 for $5.99, and organic strawberries were buy one (at $5.99), get one free. Same price, people! (And ps - strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list aka the top products containing the MOST pesticides on them!)
So there are ways! But even just making ONE swap is better than none. And try to make sure you're eating more whole foods. I pinky swear promise this is what the little babe in your belly wants ;) I have a collection of recipes here to help you out in this department!
And along these lines, make sure you have a good prenatal supplement plan going for you too - just to be sure! You can check out mine here!
Those are the big ones for now, but I definitely want to keep writing more on this topic because it's become a big passion of mine. We mamas need to stick together - especially when the health of our children is involved.
If you have any comments you'd like to add or if you'd like to ask me anything, please never hesitate to reach out. I love connecting with you guys & like I said, I'm always learning + evolving myself. I can only offer you what I've done in the past & what is working for me, but I'm always open to learning more. I like to think of myself like a sponge ;) (Just don't ask how my pregnancy brain is doing these days!)
Question for you: What's you fave green pregnancy tip that you a) already do or b) are going to start implementing asap!?! (I want to cheer you on!)