Congratulations, you’re expecting! As a young mother, you want to know what products you need to avoid during your pregnancy. Health n Wellness proposes a list of products to banish from your home, or things you can avoid to best protect your baby from external risks.
Avoid mercury; go easy on the fish!
Certain fish can contain fairly high levels of mercury. This is why certain types of fish are not recommended during pregnancy: shark meat, lampreys and swordfish should be eliminated from your diet.
More common species can also be polluted by mercury like red tuna, bass, pike, skate or perch. The level of contamination in cod, tinned tuna or salmon is lower, but should be taken into consideration. It is recommended that you limit yourself to 150 g of fish per week during pregnancy, which is about one portion.
Be aware also if you go to the dentist: dental amalgams contain mercury. It is best to consult your dentist early in your pregnancy.
Be careful of PCBs -go organic
We find PCBs for example in fish or fatty meats. Occasional exposure to such molecules has little impact on the health, although chronic exposure can have neuro-toxic effects on the baby if they are exposed to them in-utero. Pesticides are also used in conventional non-organic farming, which are found in your diet. You may also be even further exposed if you work with pesticides.
The only way of avoiding being contaminated with PCBs is to consume only organic foods, because with conventional fruit and veg, one in two contains pesticide residue.
In the same way, if you garden, avoid working with products that contain pesticides!
Bisphenol A is present in a number of plastics, hence the necessity to put a stop to giving out free plastic bags in shops. Bisphenol A increases the risk of miscarriage and has a damaging effect on your hormones. It slows down growth, particularly cerebral growth, of the developing baby.
Since 2011, Bisphenol A has been prohibited in the manufacture of baby’s bottles. It was supposed to be banned in all food containers and food utensils since 2015, but it is still present in tins and cans.
Phtalates are other chemical products present in plastic. They can cause reproductive and metabolic disorders in the case of exposure during pregnancy. For the baby, it can increase the risk of asthma and allergies.
We can also find them in industrial candles, in PVC, carpets, lino, sprung floors and wallpaper. Check what they contain before buying or using.
And cosmetics containing parabens
Parabens are largely used as preservatives in cosmetics: shower gels, deodorants, creams, etc. Studies have shown that they can interfere with hormonal functioning, with an impact on fertility and increasing risk of oestrogen-dependent tumours, such as in the case of breast cancer. Go for natural cosmetics or ones without parabens.
If you occasionally use lipstick or nail varnish containing parabens, there is no need to panic. However, in general, it is better to use organic cosmetics.
Cadmium is an endocrine disruptor present in tobacco, meat offal and in factories manufacturing batteries. If you smoke, it is better to give up, and also avoid passive smoking.
Phytoestrogens in soya
Particularly present in soya, phytoestrogens are molecules produced by soy beans, which can disrupt the hormonal balance of the mother and baby, in the case of excessive consumption. In adults, it can cause fertility problems or cause breast cancer in women.
Phytoestrogens are present in large quantities in tofu and in hops, the plant used in producing beer. Health organisations recommend that pregnant women consume no more than one soya product per day.
Air pollution: ventilate!
Cleaning products, new furniture, air fresheners…. 91% of cleaning products contain formaldehyde or formalin, but also glycol ethers, and components derived from hydrocarbons such as benzene, etc. Avoid using these products too often and opt instead for more natural products.
It is strongly recommended to completely open the windows for at least 10 minutes every day, no matter what the temperature outside is.
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs
Tobacco, alcohol and drugs consumed during pregnancy can cause intra-uterine growth retardation (slow down the growth of the baby) and increase the risk of miscarriage. More than 20% of women smoke during pregnancy. In terms of drugs, when consumed during pregnancy they can have damaging effects on the baby’s development as they grow older, especially in terms of cerebral or neurological development.