Toxins & Birth Defects- How Pregnant Women Can Stay Safe

Pregnancy is a delicate phase, as one needs to go the extra mile to keep the baby safe. Would-be moms often take all kinds of precautions, from eating a healthy diet to avoiding overexertion, walking carefully, and steering clear of alcohol and smoking. But besides these do’s during pregnancy, you may be unaware of some don’ts that may cause unexpected harm. Some toxins may reach your baby through things you least expect. So do not assume your little one is safe, even if you ditch cigarettes and alcohol.

Babies can be more vulnerable to toxic exposures during developmental stages. Some of these development windows occur very early, even before you know you are pregnant. The worst part is that exposure can lead to severe complications, including birth defects. You must be extra-conscious about the risks to avoid them during conception planning and throughout the pregnancy. Let us share a few tips for pregnant women to stay safe from toxins and prevent fetal birth defects.

Know the culprits

The first step is to know the culprits that can cause toxic exposure for you and your baby during pregnancy. Think beyond the pollutants in the air and pesticides and preservatives in the food you eat. The water you drink may be contaminated with industrial chemicals. Cigarette smoke is another culprit, even if you inhale secondhand smoke rather than smoke directly. Besides these known perils, there are countless hidden toxins in products you use every day. From cosmetics to cleaners, paints, medicines, and household dust, several things you expose yourself to daily are full of toxins. Awareness helps you avoid them and prevent birth complications and fetal defects.

Understand the risks

Besides knowing the potential culprits, you must understand the risks of toxic exposure during pregnancy. Women tend to overlook the threat because it is not visible. Likewise, you may suffer due to someone else’s negligence. Consider the instance of women residing in Camp Lejeune during 1953-1987. Many cases of miscarriages and birth defects were reported due to toxic water consumption in the area. The disaster happened because of the negligence of the authorities. Although victims can claim justice through a water contamination class action lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the loss is irreplaceable. Remember that birth defects stay for a lifetime, so it is vital to pay attention to the risks and avoid them as much as possible.

Boost your defenses

Although toxin exposure sounds daunting, the good news is that pregnant women who take good care can actually lower their risk. Following the well-being basics, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, can fortify your body’s defenses against toxin exposure. Since you cannot eliminate all of them from your life, you must go the extra mile to boost your defenses. You can trust your instincts in this context, and following the doctor’s orders does the rest. Checking online resources and talking to experienced moms also help.

Adopt a toxin-free lifestyle

Besides bolstering your defenses against toxins and chemicals, you can do your bit to adopt a toxin-free lifestyle during pregnancy. The good thing is that you can continue with these positive lifestyle changes even after childbirth. Consider it the best gift for your baby and family. Here are some measures to embrace a toxin-free lifestyle-

  • Make your own cleaning products with safe and effective household ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda.
  • Read personal care product labels and avoid anything with chemicals like parabens, mercury (thimerosal), benzophenones,  and sodium Laureth sulfate.
  • Reduce the use of skin care, hair coloring, and straightening. and cosmetic products, and stick with herbal alternatives instead.
  • But fragrance-free cleaners and laundry detergents and skip air fresheners because the synthetic fragrance in products indicates hundreds of chemicals in them.
  • Ditch the canned foods and opt for products packaged in lined cardboard or glass. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are even better.
  • Avoid using Teflon or non-stick cookware, and cook with stainless steel or cast iron pans.
  • Let your partner paint the nursery because you should avoid exposure to paint. Also, opt for low or no VOC paint.
  • Skip pest control services during pregnancy and focus on prevention. Also, eat organic food or grow it at home.

Not all birth defects are preventable, but you can do your bit to avoid the ones linked with chemical and toxin exposure. Everything boils down to awareness, so follow these simple measures to keep your bundle of joy safe from harmful toxins in the air, food, water, and everything else you use.