We used to think that the placenta guards the developing baby and filters out everything but the needed nutrients for strong development in the womb. This thought process was smashed with the 10 Americans Study done by the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org).
This study measured the presence of chemicals in umbilical cord samples of newborns and found literally hundreds of chemicals that the newborns had been exposed to in the imagined safety of the womb. Many of these chemicals are well known to cause neurological damage, reproductive damage and cancer.
Chlorpyrifos is a pesticide that used to be in very heavy use in both agriculture and home use until January of 2002, when the amount in products for home use was restricted, but agricultural use continued. As a result, most of us, when tested, have levels of chlorpyrifos in our bloodstream. In other words, it is a chemical still widely used and you are very likely to have it in your bloodstream.
This would be all fine and dandy if it was glucosinolates from brocolli we were talking about. But it’s not. Chlorpyrifos has been linked to many health concerns, the most recent of which, in this particular study, to brain damage in children who were heavily exposed in the womb. Pretty scary for any couple looking to get pregnant.
So what can you do to lower your developing baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals while in the womb (and after)? Follow these tips:
- Switch to organic fruits and vegetables, particularly those on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list
- Avoid all pain medications, even over the counter Tylenol
- Supplement with at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily
- Avoid rapidly grilled meat
- Supplement with probiotics during both pregnancy and nursing
- Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles
- Do NOT spray your house for bugs or weeds beginning for several months prior to getting pregnant
Overall, the task may initially seem daunting given the high levels of chemicals in our environment. However, with some education and conscientious decisions about the exposures and dietary choices, there should be little cause for concern.
What did you, are are you going to, give up for your pregnancy?