Avoiding harmful substances
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Avoiding harmful substances

I have talked before about how comprehensive I feel The Bradley Method® classes are.  Besides teaching about the course of a normal pregnancy and what to expect for an uncomplicated natural labor (planning, practice, preparation for unexpected circumstances), we also teach parents to stay healthy and low-risk through the course of their pregnancy.  I had to come up with a way to remember what the aspects of our series were about when I was a new teacher, so I came up with a way to remember by using my hand.  The palm of the hand is Relaxation – the key to the Bradley Method.  Then there are five fingers – Exercise, Nutrition, Communication, Consumerism and Education. 
One of the things we teach and emphasize throughout the class series is the avoidance of harmful substances.  I feel that falls under the category of Consumerism, which means that parents take responsibility for all the choices that they make that will affect their pregnancy, labor and childbirth.  As expectant parents, we need to be aware of everything in mom’s environment that might be potentially hazardous to her or her baby’s health.  After our children our born, it continues to be our responsibility to keep them out of harm's way.
We are living in an age where there are many chemicals around us – they are in our food, our cleaning products, our skin, body and hair care products, cosmetics, in the air…the list is seemingly endless.  Per the March of Dimes link listed below, “There are more than 83,000 chemicals used in homes and businesses in this country, yet we have little information on how most of them may affect you and your baby during pregnancy.”
Chemicals make things last longer, taste better, suds better.  They allow many items to be produced more economically at the manufacturing end so that companies can realize bigger profits.  I am not against profit in general, however, I am strongly opposed to companies who trade profits for our family’s well being.
Chemicals can enter your body in three ways: you can ingest them, inhale them, or absorb them through your skin.  This could mean that literally everything around you is suspect!  First of all, take a deep breath…we are still having normal looking children and if we limit chemical exposure, one hopes we can limit the impact on our and our children’s body chemistry and functions.
The concern to limit exposure is not exaggerated if you consider the fact that the incidence of many childhood diseases and childhood health issues continues to rise: obesity, ADD, ADHD, autism, leukemia, and cancer to name a few.  Among the adult population, Alzheimer’s is just one of the many diseases on the rise. 
There are no clear reasons as to why this is true.  I look at it as playing it safe.  Since we do not know how all these chemicals affect our body, then we choose to limit their exposure and thereby decrease the opportunity to be affected by them.
What can you do to protect yourself?  You can read and research as much as possible.  Since there is already a wealth of information out there, I have compiled a short list of sites that offer information on pesticide and chemical content.  If you do an internet search for pregnancy “…and toxins” or  “..and pesticides” or “..and chemicals” you will find many more.  The challenge is always to discern the ones that are reliable and the ones that are sensational and alarmist. 
I also have a link to the Arm & Hammer web page that gives you recipes for making your own cleansers and deodorizers.  You can clean your whole house with baking soda, vinegar and water.  Yes, it takes a little more time to prepare them, however the time is minimal in comparison to the benefits of chemical restricted living.
I encourage you to do what is reasonable for your lifestyle to limit your chemical exposure.  Here are some ideas for you:
1.  Maximize your grocery budget.  Eating organic can be more expensive.  Instead of going straight to higher priced specialty stores, hit your local farmer’s market to do some comparison-shopping.  Or, use your grocery dollars to buy organic for the foods you like that are high on the pesticide list and buy conventional-grown for the foods that are low on the pesticide list.
2.  Have your partner pump your gas and clean the cat litter box while you are pregnant.
3.  Eat foods that are in as close to their natural state as possible.  One of the things I learned is to shop around the perimeter of the store – the foods in the middle are the ones that are processed and treated with chemicals to make them last longer on the store shelves and on yours.
4.  Check your personal care products, perfumes and cosmetics for their chemical content.  These industries are unregulated – they can put anything in them without having to be tested by the FDA.  If any of the ingredients listed are on the “toxin” list, do not use them especially when you are pregnant, nursing or trying to get pregnant. 
5.  Drink a lot of water.  As our chiropractor says, “If you stink, you need to drink.”  You can eliminate the use of perfumes and scented lotions if you drink a lot of water and use a good organic deodorant.
6.  Make your own baby food.  If you dedicate one day to steaming and baking vegetables and fruits, then puree them and freeze them in phthalate-free ice cube trays, you can make enough food for a month’s worth of meals.  Store the food cubes in your freezer and defrost as needed.
7.  You can use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.  The substance that makes liquids gel is a chemical…
What kind of things have you done in an effort to limit your chemical exposure?
Baking Soda Solutions
March of Dimes
Cosmetic Safety Database
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides
Ranked List of Foods from Highest to Lowest Pesticide Residues
WebMD list of Pregnancy and Toxins
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

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