A green lifestyle is can be started or enhanced during pregnancy. Expecting mothers are more aware of what they are putting in and on their bodies. Pregnant women also start considering their home environments and potential hazards in the home that can be eradicated before the baby is born. With pregnancy, women also feel a more pressing need to make the home and the world a better and healthier place for their child.
Greening Your Body
Eat organic food when it’s available, including produce, dairy and meat products. Dr. Ted Schettler, Science and Environmental Health Network, advises that eating organic will lower the pesticide level in your blood. Opt for hormone-free meats and humanely raised animals. (See Resources)
Opt for organic and eco-friendly shampoos and lotions made by natural product companies. Use products without dyes and perfumes. Any lotion or personal care product you use will be absorbed by you and your baby. When you cannot find chemical-free products, consider using fewer products in your beauty regimen.
Avoid the dirty dozen, a list of fruits and vegetables that are most laden with pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG),based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (see Resources).
Stop buying and eating any foods or beverages which contain chemical additives. Some pregnant women eliminate all forms of artificial sweeteners or any ingredients which you cannot pronounce or find in nature.
Greening the Home
Go green with indoor plants to improve air quality inside the home. Plants provide fresh oxygen and they also remove toxins from the air, according to a 1989 study by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and NASA. Consider spider plants or English ivy plants. Do not add any harmful pesticides or non-organic fertilizers.
Green clean the home with baking soda and vinegar rather than chemical products. Mix fresh lemons with olive oil to make your own furniture polish.
Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and no-odor paints when painting a nursery or repainting the home during pregnancy. There are also water-based, milk-based and natural clay-based paints available for interior painting projects. Have someone else paint the rooms for you, while pregnant and air out the house before returning, even with low-VOC and no-odor paints.
Test the tap water in your home EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (see Resources). Invest in a water filter, purifier or water distiller and drink the tap water, not bottled water.
Prepare to breastfeed the baby and invest in washable bottles and a hand pump. For extended breastfeeding, when you will be away from the baby, purchase a hospital grade pump.
Request a green baby shower. Ask for hand-me-down gifts rather than new ones. Include organic cotton bedding and clothing, an organic crib mattress on your gift registry.
Consider adding cloth diapers or a cloth diapering service to your baby shower gift registry if you want to green your baby’s diapers.
Invest in a a sturdy stroller that adjusts to baby’s size, weight and height. A stroller that holds a baby carrier gives you fewer items to have to recycle, give away or throw in the garbage.
Purchase baby clothes which are gently used or accept slightly used baby clothes from other moms. Give your slightly used baby clothes and maternity clothes away to pregnant friends or donate them.
- Foods labeled as natural are not organic.
- Do not stress out if you cannot go completely green.
- Avoid using or exposing yourself to outdoor lawn pesticides at your home or in your neighborhood park.
- Reconsider having your home exterminated with chemicals while pregnant.