How to Avoid Environmental Toxins During Pregnancy

For an expectant mother, the health of an unborn baby is a primary concern. While the female body is incredibly adept at creating a barrier between a growing fetus and the various toxins that are present in the surrounding environment, there are environmental toxins which can affect the health of a baby in utero. The mother can prevent these environmental toxins from reaching her unborn child by reducing her own exposure to these toxins. If you are concerned about the health of your child during your pregnancy and want to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins, you can follow these few simple steps.


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    Research the common toxins that can affect an unborn child. The best way to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins is to understand which toxins in the environment can affect the health of an unborn child. It is impossible to completely avoid all toxins in the environment. Chemicals are everywhere, and even a mother who stays indoors all the time will still be exposed to various chemicals and potential toxins at some point during a pregnancy. By researching some of the worst chemical toxins, you can learn exactly what chemicals and environmental toxins should be avoided most fervently. This simple step can help you to become aware of environmental indicators of toxins so that you can do your best to steer clear of them and improve the health of your child.
    • Pesticides are poisons designed to kill insects and rodents. These harsh chemicals can also be dangerous to an unborn fetus or cause nausea and vomiting in a pregnant woman.
    • Fumes from paint, paint thinner, and wood varnishes contain fumes which may be harmful, causing early delivery or even brain damage to an unborn child.
    • Aerosol products may release airborne chemicals which can cause nausea, accelerated heartbeat, or even brain damage in the unborn child.
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    Take inventory of chemicals within your home. Many mothers are surprised to learn that the bulk of their exposure to environmental toxins comes from within their own home. There are many different toxins in the average home, and taking inventory of the chemicals that you use in your home every day will help to increase your awareness of these toxins so that you can rid your home of these dangerous substances.
    • Check garages, laundry rooms and basements for hidden sources of toxins. Search for pest poisons, products with labels that say "toxic," and products which have flame retardants, as these can all be dangerous to an unborn child. If at all possible, rid your home of these chemicals when you start trying to get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, have a friend or partner clear out these areas for you. Leave rooms open so that accumulated chemicals can air out. These areas almost always uncover a variety of chemicals that can be potentially harmful to an unborn child. Watch for dangerous fumes, strong odors and harmful ingredients in products such as laundry detergent, fabric softeners and paint.
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    Refrain from using chemical insecticides in your yard or home. Insecticides are some of the most harmful environmental toxins that pregnant mothers are exposed to on a regular basis. These chemicals may negatively impact the health of an unborn child.
    • Avoid coming into contact with any chemical pesticides. If you are accidentally exposed to them, be sure to wash the area immediately with soap and water to remove any chemical residue.
    • Ban the use of pesticides in your yard or home during the length of your pregnancy. When insecticides and pesticides are used in the open environment, some of the chemicals become airborne and can be inhaled by pregnant women.
    • Avoid areas where pesticides are used. When out in public, watch for signs of pesticide use such as newly fertilized lawns and trees sprayed with insect repellent.
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    Stay away from paint and paint removers. Paint and paint thinner can release toxic aromas into the environment, which can have a negative effect on the health of an unborn child.
    • The chemicals used in paint and paint thinner are extremely noxious. Many expectant mothers forget about the noxious properties of paint when they begin decorating a nursery or baby's room. Pregnant women should not take part in painting projects around the house, and they should never be responsible for using paint thinner to remove paint from brushes and rollers.
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    Choose all natural household cleaners. Household cleaners sometimes contain powerful toxins and noxious chemicals that can have a negative effect on the health of an unborn child.
    • Search through your cleaning products and eliminate those that contain harmful toxins. Avoid using powerful cleaning agents such as bleach or ammonia during pregnancy, and steer clear of abrasive cleaners that emit powerful odors, such as scrubbing powders and bathroom cleansers.
    • Replace toxic cleaning supplies with natural versions. By substituting chemical cleaners with household cleaners that use organic and all natural plant extracts, you can reduce the noxious properties of your home cleaning products. Replacing toxic cleaners with natural cleaning products is a good habit to get into when preparing to raise children in your home.
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    Avoid exposure to lead. Lead is one of the most toxic materials in the environment. There are many different ways in which expectant mothers can be exposed to lead.
    • Check for harmful lead levels in your tap water by contacting your city's water purification headquarters. Some tap water has a high enough lead content to have a negative effect on a developing human fetus. Many pregnant women choose to avoid lead content completely by drinking only purified water or bottled water during their pregnancy.
    • Discard all dishes that are lined with lead. An unborn child can be exposed to toxic levels of lead if the mother consumes food which has come into contact with lead-lined dishes or china. Eating food from plates which contain no lead is the only way to safely feed your unborn child.
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    Pay close attention to your sense of smell. An excellent way to reduce the amount of environmental toxins to which your unborn child is exposed is to trust your sense of smell.
    • During pregnancy, a woman's sense of smell often increases exponentially. This may be a survival instinct for pregnant mothers to avoid dangerous situations for their children. If you smell something that smells caustic or noxious, it probably is dangerous for your unborn child and the environment which houses the smell should be avoided.
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    Speak out against environmental toxins and warn other expectant mothers about the dangers associated with them. It is impossible for a pregnant mother to avoid all environmental toxins no matter how careful she is. However, many pregnant mothers and mothers with young children are speaking out against the presence of toxins in the environment. Even a single voice can make a difference in helping to reduce the amount of airborne toxins which exist in the world.


  • Pesticides, paint fumes, and cleaning chemicals can remain on surfaces for weeks after they are initially used. It is important to rid your home of these chemicals immediately after you discover that you are pregnant. It is a good idea to begin eliminating these chemicals from your home as soon as you begin trying to get pregnant.


  • Environmental toxins such as lead are extremely common in fine china and decorative platters. Typically, a lead content will be listed on the back of decorative platters and expensive dishes. However, even dishes without a warning may include lead. It is advisable for pregnant mothers to consume food off of dishes that are specifically labeled as lead-free.

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