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Toxin Exposure During Pregnancy Can Create Health Issues for Children During their Elementary School Years and Beyond

As an expectant mother, you hold a crucial role in safeguarding the health and well-being of your growing baby. In our modern world, chemical toxins are pervasive and found in our air, food, water, and soil. They build up in the body and can lead to many health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. It’s essential to understand that some of these chemicals can pass from you to your developing fetus, potentially impacting their health in the long term. By being aware and taking proactive steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of toxin exposure during pregnancy.

Exposure to certain toxins during pregnancy has been linked to various health issues in children, including developmental delays, behavioral problems, and even an increased risk of certain diseases later in life. In a study of children born to European mothers who were exposed to four families of chemicals that disrupt the endocrine (hormone) systems, researchers found that their children had elevated levels of metabolic syndrome. The symptoms of metabolic disease found include obesity, elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance – the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Expectant mothers need to be aware of the potential dangers and take steps to protect themselves and their unborn children from toxin exposure.

One of the first steps in protecting against harmful chemicals during pregnancy is to be mindful of the products you use. For instance, many household cleaners like bleach, ammonia, certain detergents, and personal care products such as certain shampoos, soaps, and lotions contain chemicals that can harm fetal development. Know that drinking out of a plastic water bottle is full of nanoplastics. Use a refillable bottle instead. Limit rice intake for infants and children, and when preparing rice, rinse it thoroughly before cooking. Doing so removes up to 60% of the arsenic in the grains.

Opting for natural, chemical-free alternatives can help minimize exposure to these toxins. Here are the chemicals that should be at the top of your list: 

  • Heavy metals – lead, mercury, and arsenic
  • Flame retardants – found in many products such as furnishings, electronics, your car, and building materials (paint, sealants, insulation, electrical wires, and cables, etc)
  • Phthalates – widely found in food storage containers, cosmetics, shampoo, perfume, and children’s toys
  • Phenols – found in disinfectants, antiseptics, mouthwash, and throat lozenges, and are also used to make plastics
  • PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) – used to make products nonstick, water and oil repellant, and resistant to temperature change.

It’s also crucial to be mindful of exposure to environmental toxins. Air and water pollution can contain harmful substances that can affect fetal development. Taking steps to minimize exposure to air pollution, such as avoiding heavily trafficked areas and refraining from smoking, can help reduce the risk to the developing fetus. You can check the levels of PFAS and other chemicals in your drinking water here

Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting against harmful chemicals during pregnancy. By educating themselves on the potential dangers and taking proactive steps to minimize exposure, expectant mothers can safeguard their health and that of their developing baby. By making informed choices about the products we use and the environments we expose ourselves to, we can help ensure a healthier start for the next generation. Rest assured, by following these guidelines, you are taking significant steps towards raising a healthier child.

You can read the full CNN article that inspired this blog here.